The iPad, the Galaxy Tab, and other tablets are popular – it only takes a few trips through your local electronics outlet to figure that out. But according to one new report, tablet computers may be even more popular than we originally thought. ABI Research, a marketing firm based in New York, has released a paper showing that 4.5 million tablet computers shipped into the third quarter of 2010.
Does this mean all manufacturers are benefiting equally from the tablet craze? Not exactly. Of the 4.5 million tablet computers shipped that quarter, 93 percent – or well over 4 million units – were iPads. In other words, we're dealing less with an interest in the idea of a tablet, and more with the very specific interest in the Apple iPad. But, of course, the iPad had few real competitors that quarter. It's nothing like the strong 2011 lineup.
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ABI stresses that Apple's grip on the tablet market won't last forever. "Apple’s first-to-market iPad advantage will inevitably erode to some extent," ABI analyst Jeff Orr notes in a press statement released today. Presumably, Orr is thinking here of the range of tablets that will hit the market in coming months: The RIM PlayBook, for instance, or the Motorola Xoom.
He's right, of course. But what Orr doesn't mention is the iPad 2, which is almost-certainly arriving next week. As we reported yesterday, Apple has issued invites to an iPad-related event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco – an event that is almost certainly designed to showcase the newest iteration of the iPad.
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