Apple Ruled the Tablet Market in Q3 2011

IDC just released its report on the state of the tablet industry in Q3 2011. Worldwide tablet shipments grew nearly 24% in the last quarter with around 18.1 million tablets shipped in that period. IDC expects the growth in tablet shipments to continue going forward, and expects the total shipments in 2011 to reach 63.3 million units.

Apple’s iPad continues to rule the tablet market, and accounted for nearly 61.5% of all tablets shipped with sales of around 11.1 million units. However, it is slowly losing market share due to the growing popularity of cheap Android tablets. It is expected to lose more market share in Q4 2011, primarily due to the spectacular sales of the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Apple iPad

HP’s TouchPad fire sale gave it a 5% share of all tablet shipments in Q3 2011, and the third position after Apple and Samsung, which came second with a 5.6% market share. Barnes and Noble came fourth, with a 4.5% market share, thanks to continuing sales of the Nook Color.

Android tablets accounted for 32.4% of all tablet shipments in Q3 2011, but are expected to capture more than 40.3% market share in Q4 2011, thanks to the Amazon Kindle Fire. Even the launch of the Nook Tablet and other cheap Android tablets should help its market share in the coming years.

Nokia Working on Windows 8 Tablets

Nokia, which ditched its own mobile OS – Symbian, for Windows Phone, is apparently working on a Windows 8 tablet, in collaboration with Microsoft. It will be launched by June 2012. With all of its hardware efforts aligned with Microsoft, Nokia is probably the closest thing to Microsoft’s own hardware arm.

With Dell, HP, and Samsung also rumored to be working on their Windows 8 tablets and ultrabooks, it seems that Microsoft now has the support of every major hardware manufacturer for the much awaited Windows 8, which will be launched in 2012.

This information was revealed by the head of Nokia France, who also let it slip that Nokia was working to launch a higher-end Lumia handset powered by Windows Phone 7.5 soon.

“It’s just the equivalent of the BMW 5 Series. We will soon have a full range with a Series 7 and Series 3.”

He likely referenced the Lumia 800 as a BMW 5, and the Lumia 710 as the BMW 3. The BMW 7 is presumably going to be the Lumia 900. Nokia has already launched the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710. Rumors suggest that its next Windows Phone device will be the Lumia 900, which will have a 4.3 inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, an 8 MP camera, and a 1.4 GHz processor with 16 or 32 GB of internal storage. It is expected to be launched in Q1 2012.

Samsung Galaxy Note launches in India for INR 34,990; Hands-on Video

4.7HTC Titan. 5Dell Streak. And now, Samsung Galaxy Note at 5.3. To borrow Samsung’s tagline, Next is what?’. Samsung launched Galaxy Note, the 5.3display mobile device, today in India. This device probably creates a new category in the market as a hybrid between smartphones and tablets.

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Featuring a 5.3HD Super AMOLED display, this Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) device provides an immersive experience and brings an advanced pen-input technology to the table. Samsung calls the stylus, the Smart Pen.   While most people have relegated stylus to be an old-world input technology, Samsung insists it has many interesting use cases specially to unleash your creativity and impulsive ideas.

The 1.4 GHz processor and 1GB RAM are packed in a nice looking device that is only 9.65mm thick and weighs 178 gms.   It features an 8MP camera with LED flash as well as a 2MP secondary camera. Samsung also announced the launch of a new S-Choice category under Samsung Apps. It features applications specially designed for Galaxy Note’s Smart Pen feature. Here’s a quick hands-on that I did at the launch event held at New Delhi, India.

The MRP of the device is INR 34,990 and it will be available in Indian market this week.

Android Tablets Grabbing Market Share from the Apple iPad

The absolute domination of the iPad is now coming to an end. When the iPad was first launched, it was the only tablet on the market, and it immediately captured the entire market. Soon after that, Android smartphone manufacturers started churning out oversized smartphones, and started selling them as tablets with Froyo or Gingerbread installed. The Samsung Galaxy Tab was the most popular of them, and it managed to capture only a marginal share.

With the HP TouchPad now dead, and the Blackberry Playbook being a miserable failure, the iPad is still ruling the charts. However, it has been losing market share to Android.

Even though most Android Honeycomb tablets suck, there has been a deluge of cheap Android Gingerbread tablets in the market. They may not make a lot of money, but they are helping Google gain market share for Android, which is what they have wanted all along.

Android tablets accounted for 27% of global tablet sales in Q3 2011, up from 2.3% a year earlier, according to a report by Strategy Analytics. 4.5 million Android tablets were sold in Q3 2011, out of a total of 16.7 million tablets. Samsung led the charge, selling more than 1.5 million tablets.

With Amazon entering the market with the Android based Kindle Fire, the iPad’s market share is set to decline even more this quarter. Even Google launched the next version of Android – Ice Cream Sandwich – recently which is supposedly better than Honeycomb, and unifies Android on smartphones and tablets.

Apple is already feeling the heat, and has mounted a legal offensive against Samsung to ban sales of its Galaxy Tab tablet in multiple countries.

Microsoft, which will launch Windows 8 next year, runs the risk of being too late to the party.

However, Apple continues to grab a majority of the profits in the tablet industry, just like it does in the smartphone industry.

Wacom Launches New Range of Multi-touch and Pen Table

Wacom India yesterday announced their all new line-up of Bamboo tablets at a press event in New Delhi. The new Bamboo tablets make it easier to create, edit, and share images and documents for creative professionals and digital enthusiasts. The new range of tablets announced include: Bamboo Fun, Bamboo Pen & Touch, and Bamboo Pen.

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All Bamboo tablets combine the pressure-sensitive, battery-free and cordless pen experience with multi-touch functionality for fast, easy navigation of PCs or Macs. The improved pen offers a more aesthetic shape, improved pen buttons, and new eraser shape. The multi-touch experience is enhanced and more intuitive. So sweeping with fingers over the tablet to scroll through documents, surf the web, or browse through images is quick and easy. Both Bamboo Fun and Bamboo Pen & Touch tablets can now be used with the available Bamboo wireless accessory kit. It allows you to connect the tablet wirelessly to PCs and Macs.

Consumers are becoming significantly more expressive and creative in their everyday digital life. With the new Bamboo generation, we offer the perfect tool to personalise content and to navigate, write, draw, paint and sketch in an enjoyable way.

– John de Olde, Asia Pacific Marketing Manager, Wacom Co., Ltd..

Darren Higgins specializes in portraiture and commercial product photography.

Bamboo Pen

The Bamboo Pen is the starting model of the new range and is available for INR 5500. With compact design, Bamboo Pen allows for easy and intuitive use.

Bamboo Pen & Touch

Bamboo Pen & Touch should make for a stylish accessory on your desk. The stunning black tablet is priced at INR 7500 and allows for a smooth drawing, annotating, scribbling, painting, and navigating experience.

Bamboo Fun

Bamboo Fun, although a little steep in price at INR 13,500, is stylish and comes with a loaded software bundled: Adobe ® Photoshop ® Elements 9 and Bamboo Scribe 3.0. The medium-sized tablet also comes with Corel Painter Essentials 4, which turns any computer into a digital canvas and the Bamboo pen into a multi-purpose paintbrush. Bamboo Fun is essentially Bamboo Pen & Touch with the software bundle.

 

Bamboo interactive pen tablets deliver a great experience of working with a PC or Mac. Combining the best aspects of user experience, the pen tablets allow for better interaction with computers.

Amazon Losing $10 On Each Kindle Fire

Amazon announced the Kindle Fire a couple of days ago, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Most analysts predict that the Amazon’s Kindle Fire will soon come to dominate the low end of the tablet market, while the iPad continues to rule the high end.

Amazon has priced the Kindle Fire at just $199, and its strategy is the polar opposite of Apple’s tablet strategy. While Apple has a hefty gross profit margin on its tablet hardware, Amazon will be selling the Kindle Fire at a loss initially, and hopes to make money by selling content to Kindle Fire users.

An initial estimate by Gene Munster stated that Amazon would be losing up to $50 per Kindle Fire initially. However, some research by iSuppli reveals that a single Kindle Fire unit costs Amazon close to $210. This means that Amazon will be losing close to $10 on every Kindle fire it sells.

In Q4 2011, Amazon may take a huge hit to its overall profit margins, because it is expected to sell close to 5 million Kindle Fire units by the end of 2011. Add in shipping and logistical costs, and Amazon could easily be losing $20 per Kindle Fire, which means a $100 million hit to its bottom line.

If it has to pay Microsoft $5-$10 for each Kindle Fire, that may mean an additional hit of around $25-$50 million. Maybe Amazon should buy Palm from HP, if only for its patents.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Announced; Runs on Android 3.2 Honeycomb

Samsung has just announced the successor to the Galaxy Tab 7, the Tab 7.0 Plus. The original 7-inch Tab was the first ever Android tablet, which was a worthy’ competitor to the iPad. With a weight of 345gms, and a thickness of only 9.96mm, the Tab 7 Plus is among the lightest and the most portable tablet out there. Its light weight and slim factor ensures that the tablet can easily fit inside a jacket or a handbag.

Galaxy_Tab_7_plus

The Tab 7.0 Plus sports a 7-inch PLS LCD display with WSVGA (1024×600) resolution, and is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The device also packs in 1GB of RAM, and will come in 16GB and 32GB variants. Other key features of the Tab 7.0 Plus include a microSD card slot, Wi-Fi b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 3.0, HSPA+, USB host support, and a microUSB port. There are also a bunch of sensors like Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Proximity sensor etc. on-board.

The back of the tablet sports a 3MP camera with LED flash, with a 2MP camera in the front accompanying it. The Tab 7.0 Plus also packs in a microphone and a speaker, so some people can use it as a rather large phone. It can also record videos in 720p HD resolution, and can playback Full HD (1080p) HD videos.

This 7-inch Tab will run on Honeycomb 3.2, with Sammy’s TouchWIZ UI on top of it. A beefy 4000mAh battery powers this tablet. The tablet will be available in Indonesia and Austria from end-October, and will be gradually available in Southeast and Southwest Asia, US, Europe and Latin America. Sammy did not mention anything about the pricing of the device though.

Kindle Fire: Amazon’s $199 Android Tablet

Details of Amazon’s new tablet — the Kindle Fire — have been leaked by Bloomberg, just before the official event. It looks very similar to the Blackberry Playbook, with good reason.

It comes with a 7 inch multi-touch display and is an inexpensive, no-frills tablet. It doesn’t have a camera, or 3G connectivity, presumably stripped off to bring down the costs. It will come integrated with Amazon apps like the Amazon Appstore, Kindle Store, Amazon Prime, and Amazon MP3. It will also feature Amazon Cloud Drive support and will offer on-demand video streaming.

Thanks to its Android lineage, it will support thousands of Android apps from the Amazon Appstore. It will also come with 30 days of free Amazon Prime usage. It is priced at just $199, 60% lower than the iPad, and much lower than any Android tablet.

You can buy it here: Amazon Kindle Fire

Reportedly, Amazon will be launching another premium 10-inch tablet soon, which will be priced higher.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Some updates: The Kindle Fire will come with a 7 inch multi-touch IPS display, with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It’s a bit heavy, at 413 grams. It will have 8 GB of internal storage, and its battery will last for about 8 hours. Amazon has bundled free cloud storage for all content you get through Amazon.

Here’s a list of supported media formats: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, Audible, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.

Update: The official Kindle Fire page is online – Amazon Kindle Fire

ZTE T98: The Most Powerful Tablet on Earth

ZTE seems to be really focused on entering the big leagues now. Just a day after it unveiled its first Windows Phone 7 device – the ZTE Tania, which wasn’t much to speak of, its new tablet — the ZTE T98 — was spotted at the Expo Comm in China.

While most quad core Tegra 3 powered devices have been seen only as reference designs and FCC filings, the ZTE T98 prototype was actually up and running at this event. It is probably the most powerful consumer tablet on Planet Earth right now, and also the most impressive.

The ZTE T98 will sport a 7 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It will also have a 5 MP primary camera and a 2 MP secondary camera. It will be powered by the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 (Kal-El) processor clocked at 1.5 GHz. It will have 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. It runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb.

It will offer Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, and comes bundled with a 4000 mAh battery. It is only 11.5 mm thin. While the device seems really impressive right now, by the time it launches, there will likely be many similar tablets on the market.

Here are some images of the ZTE T98, courtesy Engadget

ZTE T98 Android Tablet

ZTE T98 Android Tablet

Amazon’s Android Tablet: Kindle Fire

Rumors that Amazon has been working on a new tablet have been circulating since months now. Techcrunch apparently even got hold of a prototype unit, and we just got to know that it may be unveiled by Jeff Bezos at an event on September 28.

I’m very optimistic about the Amazon tablet, and think that it may be the best alternative to the iPad. While most other Android tablet manufacturers suck compared to the iPad, the Amazon Kindle tablet appears to have the best chance at dethroning the iPad.

Today, some more details about the Amazon tablet were revealed by the guys at GDGT.

The Amazon tablet – Kindle Fire – will have a design similar to the Blackberry Playbook, because the hardware design and production was outsourced to the same manufacturer – Quanta. Because of the short time frame, Amazon didn’t do much of the hardware design in-house.

It will have a 7 inch display, and will run a derivative of Android. Apparently, it will be powered by a dual core OMAP chip from TI clocked at 1.2 GHz.

It may be priced at either $250, or $300 with Amazon Prime bundled. It will have a completely locked ecosystem, much like the iPad.

We will probably know more about Amazon’s Kindle Fire Android tablet in a day or two. We will be covering Amazon’s event tomorrow, so stay tuned.

PS: It’ll be interesting to see how Amazon’s Android tablet stacks up against the soon-to-be announced Nook Color 2 and $349 Android tablet by Barnes & Noble.