Market research outfit IDC said that despite the avalanche of new tablets expected, based on the Android operating system, Apple would maintain 70 to 80 per cent market share.
The firm said 10.1 million tablets shipped worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2010, surging from the 4.5 million shipped the previous quarter. IDC said that the Samsung Galaxy Tab managed to capture 17 per cent of the market, eating into Apple’s pie as the iPad-maker slipped from 93 per cent in Q3 2010 to 73 per cent in Q4 2010.
IDC also said the eReader market more than doubled in volume in the same quarter, with 6 million units shipping. As expected, strong sales of the competitively priced Amazon Kindle helped to drive gains in the eReader market.
"Strong holiday sales of media tablets were in line with IDC projections and strong consumer interest in the category while device vendors scrambled to offer products competitive with Apple’s iPad and now iPad 2," said IDC consumer boss Loren Loverde.
"Media Tablets are on pace to reach shipments of roughly 50 million units in 2011."
IDC called the new Motorola Xoom a "worthy competitor in function" but said that the high price would be a barrier to capturing significant market share.
With Apple projected to retain 70 to 80 per cent market share, IDC appears pessimistic that the newcomers will bother Apple too much as they struggle to compete with the second generation iPad.