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Shipments of media tablets in the first quarter totaled 17.4 million units, a 120 percent increase from the first quarter of 2011, according to researcher IDC. However, media tablet shipments were down 38 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.
IDC reported the decline in first quarter shipments was forecast, but the drop was steeper than expected. IDC had forecast a 34 percent decline in shipments in the first quarter from the previous quarter.
Shipments of Apple's iPad devices fared better than Android-based media tablet shipments.
Apple shipped 11.8 million iPads in the first quarter, down from 15.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. However, Apple grew its worldwide media tablet share from 54.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 68 percent in first quarter of 2012. Amazon, which had a 16.8 percent share in the fourth quarter, saw its share decline to 4 percent. Samsung took advantage of Amazon's weakness to regain the number two position.
"Apple's move to position the iPad as an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device, is resonating with consumers as well as educational and commercial buyers," said Tom Mainelli, research director, mobile connect devices at IDC. He added Apple's decision to keep a lower-priced iPad 2 in the market after it launched the new iPad in March "seems to be paying off as well."
While total Android shipments declined in the first quarter, Samsung and Lenovo are beginning to gain traction in the market with their latest generation of Android products, according to IDC.
IDC noted that media tablet manufacturers will try to grow market share by competing with Apple on price.
Mainelli said Amazon will release a new, larger-screened device at an "aggressive price point" and Google will enter the market with an inexpensive, co-branded ASUS tablet designed to compete directly on price with Amazon's Kindle Fire.