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Tablet
sales in the United States, excluding units of Apple’s market-leading iPad
device, soared to more than 1.2 million units sold from January through October
and brought in $415 million in revenue at retail, according to market research
company The NPD Group’s monthly Connected Handhelds Report.

Total
tablet industry sales, for both hardware and accessories, brought in nearly
$700 million. Tablet hardware sales accelerated throughout the year, with each
quarter performing better than the prior quarter.  Third-quarter sales
were two times that of second-quarter sales, and second-quarter sales were
three times better than first-quarter sales. Hewlett-Packard held a slight lead
in market share with 17 percent, followed closely by Samsung at 16 percent.
Asus, Motorola and Acer rounded out the top five with sales of 10 percent for
Asus and 9 percent each for Motorola and Acer.

“If
you look at the tablet market without Apple, there are a number of high-profile
brands vying for that No. 2 spot,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of
industry analysis at NPD. “According to NPD’s Consumer Tracking Service, 76
percent of consumers who purchased a non-Apple tablet didn’t even consider the
iPad, an indication that a large group of consumers are looking for
alternatives, and an opportunity for the rest of the market to grow their
business.”

PC
manufacturers are dominant in the tablet space, as four of the top five tablet
brands already have a strong U.S. consumer PC presence. Only two of the top
five brands play in the smartphone market. But it’s not just the PC and
smartphone manufacturers that stand to gain from the growing tablet market;
accessory manufacturers do as well. One-third of total tablet market
revenue through the third quarter was from accessories, and two-thirds of that
was sales of cases and screen protectors.

“The
market is filled with long-time PC and phone brands as well as low-cost
entrants,” said Baker. “With a limited amount of shelf space and challenges in
overcoming the iPad’s first mover strength, not all brands will be successful.
Consumers are investing in expensive portable devices that they want to protect,
so it’s not surprising that cases and screen protectors are driving in a significant
amount of revenue. This is a great opportunity for the accessory manufacturers
already in the market to ramp up products and designs and an opportunity for
newcomers to get into a fast-growing segment.”