Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad continues to dominate the emerging tablet market, capturing 95 percent of the market in the third quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. However, vendors promoting tablets that run on Google's Android platform will put more pressure on Apple in the quarters ahead, the firm said.
Global tablet sales jumped 26 percent in third quarter compared with the second quarter, Strategy Analytics said. Of the 4.4 million tablets shipped in the quarter, Apple accounted for 4.19 million. Android tablet sales made up just 2.3 percent of the market.
"The tablet wars are up and running. Apple has quickly leveraged its famous brand, an extensive retail presence and user-friendly design to develop the tablet segment into a multi-billion-dollar global business," Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston said in a statement. "Android, Microsoft, MeeGo, webOS, Blackberry and other platforms are trailing in Apple's wake and they already have much ground to make up."
The most direct competitor to the iPad's dominance of the market is the Samsung Android-powered GalaxyTab. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will start selling the 7-inch tablet this month. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) also plans to offer the product. Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently dismissed 7-inch tablets, arguing they are inadequate competitors to the iPad--which prompted a fierce rebuttal from Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) co-CEO Jm Balsillie.
RIM expects to release its own 7-inch tablet, the PlayBook, beginning next year. According to a new survey conducted by ChangeWave Research, 8 percent of potential tablet buyers surveyed expressed interest in the device, which runs on software from QNX. The iPad dominated the survey, which was conducted in October and surveyed 3,108 potential tablet buyers. In that survey, 80 percent reported interest in Apple's gadget.
Apple also will face tablet competition from the likes of Motorola (NYSE:MOT), Hewlett-Packard, LG and others.
In other tablet news, Intel said that its "Oak Trail" chipset, designed for tablets, is on track and will start shipping early next year.
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