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By | Paul Kunert 13th February 2012 16:35

PlayBooks lapped up from RIM by distributors

Q4 shipments up as discounts tweak interest

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Update RIM UK PlayBook shipments took off in Q4 as price cuts finally convinced channel folk to up their orders.

According to data from Context, the number of RIM fondleslabs sold to UK wholesalers, retailers, resellers and vendor stores during Q4 was up nearly threefold on a sequential basis to 32,000 units, taking market share to 3.4 per cent.

Stock of the little loved PlayBook piled up in 2011 following its release and RIM forced through a series of price cuts and promos to spur demand.

"Sales were driven by all the promotions," Context mobile analyst Salman Chaudhry told The Register.

PlayBook shipments, however, paled into insignificance when compared to that of Apple's iPad, which beat off rivals to exit 2011 with almost the same dominant market share position as it had had when the year started.

Apple flogged 807,000 iPads into distribution during Q4, up 41 per cent on the previous quarter, to account for more than 84 per cent of UK tablet shipments.

Context data shows that Apple finished Q1 with an 86 per cent market share, but this fell to 73 per cent in Q2 and 67 per cent in Q3.

Chaudhry said the artificially high swing in Apple's favour was due to HP killing off the TouchPad – HP had built decent share on the back of heavy discounting before its withdrawal, which Apple picked up.

But he voiced surprise at the extent of the sales shift, given the growing number of firms that entered the tab sector last year.

"To go [back] to 80 plus per cent share in a market that has so many competitors is a real shock," he said.

Total tablet sales in the UK were up 13.5 per cent to 965,000 units in Q4. ®

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