Research firm IDC today announced the release of its data on worldwide tablet shipments for the fourth quarter of 2010, pegging Apple’s share of the market at 73%, down from a 93% share in the third quarter in the face of competitors beginning shipments of their devices. Overall tablet sales more than doubled quarter-to-quarter, moving from 4.5 million in the third quarter to 10.1 million in the fourth quarter.
IDC points to Apple’s imminent launch of the iPad 2 as reason to believe that the company will be able to maintain 70-80% market share moving forward. In addition, the firm called demand for the Samsung Galaxy Tab “stifled” by uncompetitive pricing and Apple’s momentum, suggesting that a high number of the shipped units moved into the distribution channels without making their way to customers.
Overall, IDC is predicting shipments of roughly 50 million units for 2011.