Apple led the global media tablet market during the first quarter with a 62.8 percent share by shipping 13.6 million iPads and posting 162 percent year-over-year growth, according to NPD DisplaySearch. Samsung was a distant second (7.5 percent), followed by Amazon (4 percent), Research In Motion (2.3 percent) and Asus (2.3 percent).
Unlike research firms IDC and Gartner, which consider PCs and media tablets to be separate product categories, DisplaySearch regards media tablets as a product subcategory within the mobile PC market overall. Under the firm's distinct methodology, Apple also led the global mobile PC market with a 22.5 percent share.
During the first quarter, Apple shipped 17.2 million mobile PC units overall -- equivalent to 118 percent year-over-year growth. Nearly 80 percent of Apple's mobile PC shipments during the quarter were iPads.
Apple's mobile PC shipments were nearly double those of its nearest competitor. During the first quarter, No. 2 mobile PC vendor Hewlett-Packard shipped 8.9 million units and achieved an 11.6 percent market share, DisplaySearch noted Tuesday.
Excluding Tablets, HP Retains Lead
When subtracting media tablet unit shipments from the mix, however, HP stayed atop the global mobile PC market with a 16.2 percent share. Acer was second at 11.9 percent, followed by Lenovo (10.6 percent), Dell (10.2 percent) and Asus (8.1 percent).
Though Acer enjoyed robust sales in China during the first quarter, DisplaySearch noted that Lenovo was the chief beneficiary of the China region's strong shipment growth. What's more, Lenovo's notebook and mini-note sales succeeded in gaining more traction in North America at the expense of Dell, which has been shifting its focus to the commercial market segment in the region.
Asus succeeded in gaining market share across all regions after a weak fourth quarter in 2011. According to DisplaySearch, the Taiwan-based PC maker was the most aggressive of the top five players in the notebook and mini-note market, gaining significant share in all regions.
Though mobile PC shipments fell in most areas of the world during the first quarter, DisplaySearch noted that the greater China region enjoyed sequential quarter shipment growth of 13 percent for mobile PCs overall, 16 percent for tablet PCs and 12 percent for laptops, including mini-note PCs.
"This is noteworthy given the sequential declines in all other regions as well as the declines in other product categories including TVs and monitors," said NPD DisplaySearch Senior Analyst Richard Shim.
More Options for Consumers
Mika Kitagawa, a principal analyst at Gartner, said first-quarter mobile PC shipments on a global basis -- excluding tablets -- grew 3.8 percent year-over-year to 51.2 million units. In the mini-notebook subsegment, however, unit shipments plunged by 37.4 percent to 4.27 million units.
Mobile PC shipments in the United States declined 6 percent year-over-year to 9.7 million units. Even worse, mini-notebook shipments in the U.S. fell by 80.2 percent, Kitagawa said Wednesday.
Questions remain on whether low-end systems can attract consumers, as their attention has moved to other devices, Kitagawa said.
"There are more options for consumers, so the PC is not that attractive a product for consumers, while more consumers in mature market own PCs which are relatively new," she said.
Hybrid devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, which sports a larger display than smartphones but smaller screen than most tablets, represent another potential market disruptor. The devices, dubbed "phablets" by ABI Research, are expected to surpass 208 million unit shipments in 2015.
"The larger screen sizes make a significant difference to the user's experience when compared to conventional-sized touchscreens between 3.5 to 4 inches," said ABI Research Senior Analyst Joshua Flood on Wednesday. "Additionally, new phablet-styled devices provide an attractive two-in-one device proposition and are beginning to see the competition between these larger smartphone form factors and smaller media tablets [of] less than 7 inches."