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IDC attributed Apple's continued strong sales to its positioning of the iPad as "an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device," plus the decision to keep a lower-priced iPad 2 after the release of the new iPad in March.
A big factor in the Android drop was a decline in Kindle Fire sales, with its market share falling from 16.8 percent in fourth quarter of last year to just over 4 percent in first quarter. Kindle's sales will not be helped by the announcement this week that Target will no longer carry the item. But IDC also saw that Android-based tablets from Samsung and Lenovo are beginning to get traction, and it expects the platform to rebound.
We asked Al Hilwa, program director for application development at IDC, about how the future looked for application development on the emerging Windows tablets.
He said that the Intel-based tablets "are going to have a lot of form factors, including convertibles," will ship earlier than the ARM-based ones, and will have "the richest application development" as they emerge. Hilwa pointed out that RT tablets will have a much slower ramp-up for application development, an evaluation which would seem to run counter to NPD's prediction for RT's growth.