Apple topped mobile PC, tablet market shares worldwide in Q4 2011

Apple ranked number one in the mobile PC market share for 2011, while Hewlett-Packard held on to first place for laptops worldwide.

Once again, another survey found Apple dominated the tablet market in both the fourth quarter and throughout 2011 overall.

First, Apple shipped 23.4 million mobile PCs in Q4 2011 (26 percent of the global market share) and over 62.8 million mobile PCs throughout the year -- both mostly filled with iPad orders, according to the latest figures from NPD DisplaySearch.

Although mobile PC shipments grew by 12 percent quarter-to-quarter and by 44 percent year-over-year, NPD DisplaySearch senior analyst Richard Shim explained in the report that mobile PC brands had a difficult time last year.

Mobile PC brands read the writing on the wall in the fourth quarter. Consumer demand for notebooks was expected to be weak following modest back-to-school results, especially with the expected launch of Windows 8 on the horizon, and increasing interest in tablet PCs. As a result, brands focused their typical holiday price cuts on tablets to boost demand.

As for tablets on their own, that category continues to surge -- especially for Apple, which controls 59.1 percent of the worldwide market as of Q4. However, Amazon made a noticeable impression in second place with 16.7 percent of the market share within just a single quarter.

Nevertheless, there was one category that Apple did not win, and that would be worldwide notebook PC shipments, where Apple placed fifth.

Instead, Hewlett-Packard was the winner here with 15.5 percent of the market share and 8.7 million units shipped worldwide in Q4, likely reaffirming the decision that HP's leaders made to keep the consumer PC unit after all.

Both Dell and Acer tied with 11.8 percent of the market, while Lenovo came in fourth with 10.8 percent.