by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 23, 2012
The global market for tablet computers is extending its sizzling growth and will likely top 100 million in 2012, a research firm said Thursday.
The April-June quarter set a new record for tablet shipments of nearly 25 million units -- up 36 percent from the prior quarter and 77 percent year-over-year, according to ABI Research.
Apple iPad shipments represented nearly 69 percent of the total, according to a preliminary assessment by ABI.
"Most impressive about Apple's 17 million tablet shipments in the second quarter was it nearly matched 2010 total worldwide shipments of 17.3 million for all vendors," says Jeff Orr, an ABI analyst.
That included nearly a million of its older iPad 2 devices shipped to US education customers, which brought down the average selling price.
South Korea's Samsung was the second biggest selling with over eight percent and followed by Amazon and Taiwan's Asus while Dell and LG pulled out of the market.
With new tablets hitting the market from Google and Microsoft, ABI said it expects growth trends to continue.
"The tablet market is on track for 102 to 110 million shipments worldwide for full-year 2012," said Orr.
The survey noted that most tablets operate as Wi-Fi devices without the ability to go mobile. Less than 27 percent of new shipments included a mobile broadband modem module, down 12 percent from a year earlier.
Many analysts believe Apple will launch a smaller version of its iPad later this year, and that Amazon will release an upgraded Kindle Fire. Microsoft is set to release its Surface tablet in late October. Taiwan's Acer and Asus are planning tablets using Windows 8 from Microsoft.
Sony to cut 15% of mobile phone workforce
The move to cut 1,000 jobs at Sony Mobile Communications comes about six months after Sony bought Swedish telecom company Ericsson's share in their former joint venture, called Sony Ericsson, set up in 2001.
The joint venture struggled to launch popular smartphones amid stiff competition from rivals including Apple and South Korea's Samsung Electronics.
On Thursday, Sony said the job cuts in Sweden, expected to be completed by 2014, were part of a bid to "increase operational efficiency, reduce costs and drive profitable growth".
"We are accelerating the integration and convergence with the wider Sony group to continue enhancing our offerings," Sony Mobile chief Kunimasa Suzuki said in a statement.
"A more focused and efficient operational structure will help to reduce Sony Mobile's costs... and bring the business back to a place of strength."
Sony, which makes PlayStation game consoles and Bravia televisions, has already said it would cut about 10,000 jobs worldwide and spend nearly $1.0 billion on an overhaul that its chief Kazuo Hirai described as "urgent".
The Japanese firm lost a whopping 456.66 billion yen ($5.81 billion) in the year to March, its fourth consecutive annual loss.
It also reported a widening loss in its latest quarter and cut a profit forecast for the year as the struggling firm overhauls its business.
The losses have been particularly acute in Sony's television business. Japanese electronics firms have been hurt by a strong yen, shrinking profit margins and stiff competition from foreign rivals.
Piracy has threatened its music and film assets while Sony was also hurt by last year's quake-tsunami disaster in Japan.
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