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Apple iPad dominates booming tablet sales

Sales of tablets reach 4.5 million in the third quarter of 2010...

Sales of tablets reach 4.5 million in the third quarter of 2010...

New sales figures underline the continued success of tablets, with 4.5 million units shipped in the third quarter of 2010, according to ABI Research.

Apple led the way in tablet shipments with iPads making up 93 per cent of the total number of devices shipped.

Apple iPad sales made up 93 per cent of the 4.5 million tablets shipped in Q3 of 2010
" />Apple iPad sales made up 93 per cent of the 4.5 million tablets shipped in Q3 of 2010"/>

iPad sales made up 93 per cent of the 4.5 million tablets shipped in Q3 of 2010
Photo: Apple

However, ABI senior practice director Jeff Orr commented in a statement that "over time, Apple's first-to-market iPad advantage will inevitably erode to some extent" and so the tablet market should see greater diversification in the coming months.

The release of the iPad 2, due to be announced by Apple on 2 March, is likely to determine whether Apple can maintain its dominance of the tablet market.

But the diversification of tablet devices could be bad news for IT departments, because the lack of standardisation in tablet OSes will make it costlier to support the range of devices employees are likely to use for work, according to professional services firm Deloitte. Furthermore, a separate study published by Morgan Stanley reported that more tablets are being adopted by businesses than previously thought, resulting in increased support issues.

The research by ABI reported slow sales for netbooks, which the report's authors attributed to the relative scarcity of new products. silicon.com also recently reported that tablet sales were having a negative effect on the sale of PCs, with analyst Gartner reporting a "weak" fourth quarter for PC growth in 2010.