Strategy Analytics revealed that demand for Windows 8/RT-based tablets is slowly climbing, capturing 7.5-percent of the market in 1Q13 with 3.4 million units sold worldwide.
Naturally that's good news for Microsoft, as a mere 400,000 units were reportedly sold globally in 3Q12, a number that had remained relatively unchanged since the end of 2011. Thus, Microsoft seemingly has Windows 8 to thank for its boom in tablet business despite what critics are saying about the platform in the PC sector.
However there are a number of factors that continue to hold back shipments. Peter King, Director of Tablets at Strategy Analytics, said these factors include a very limited distribution, a shortage of top tier apps, and continued customer confusion. To Microsoft's defense, the company is working on all three issues, making the tablets – especially Surface RT and Pro – more easily accessible on the market. The Windows Store continues to build its library of apps and Windows "Blue" is slated to help with the customer confusion aspect later this year.
That said, Microsoft should expect to see better results in 2Q13. Meanwhile, Apple continues to dominate the branded tablet sector, selling 19.5 million mixed iPad units in 1Q13, up compared to 11.8 million units sold in 1Q12. Branded Android tablets came in second during the same quarter, selling 17.6 million units compared to 1Q12's measly 6.4 million units. Overall, Apple went from owning 63.1-percent in 1Q12 to 48.2-percent in 1Q13 whereas Android jumped from 34.2-percent in 1Q12 to 43.4-percent in 1Q13.
"Global branded tablet shipments reached an all-time high of 40.6 million units in Q1 2013, surging 117 percent from 18.7 million in Q1 2012," King said. "Demand for tablets among consumer, business and education users remains strong. Apple produced a solid performance this quarter as the Mini had its first full term."
However that's only branded units, AKA Nexus, Galaxy Tab and whatnot. When white-label tablets are thrown into the mix, the numbers change dramatically with Android chomping on 52-percent of the global tablet market and Apple only commanding 41-percent. The bulk of the white-label tablets are based on low-budget Android models aimed at a different market than the branded units.