HP's firesale of its ill-fated TouchPad tablets has helped it become the second most popular tablet manufacturer in the US behind Apple, in a welcome boost for the firm but one that's unlikely to last for long.
HP launched the device in July but it failed to generate much interest until the firm's then chief executive Leo Apotheker said HP was considering leaving the hardware market. This sparked a huge price drop for the device – with some retailers at the time offering it for as little as £89 – that led to a spike in demand.
This helped propel the firm to 17 per cent market share in the US, according to research by analyst firm NPD, with Samsung just behind on 16 per cent and Motorola with a nine per cent share.
While HP's TouchPad firesale clearly skewed NPD's findings, vice president of industry analysis at NPD Steven Baker said there is growing demand for non-Apple tablet devices.
"Seventy-six per cent 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," he said.
However, he acknowledged that many firms attempting to gain market share in the tablet market would fail given the strength of competition and Apple's dominance.
"The market is filled with long-time PC and phone brands as well as low-cost entrants. With a limited amount of shelf space and challenges in overcoming the iPad's first mover strength, not all brands will be successful," he said
While Samsung will be expected to firmly re-establish itself in the tablet market as the number two vendor in 2012 it could face difficulties due to its ongoing legal spat with Apple over the design of its flagship Galaxy Tab 10.1 device.
However, in an attempt to circumvent any potential bans on selling the device, Samsung unveiled a redesigned version the tablet for the German market, the Galaxy Tab 10.1N.
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