The worldwide tablet market is steadily growing, increasing 49.5 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2012, driven by strong shipments from Samsung, according to data from International Data Corporation (IDC).

A total of 27.8 million tablets were shipped around the world in the third quarter of 2012.

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Samsung recorded the greatest growth in the third quarter year-on-year, increasing shipments 325.0 per cent, shipping 1.2 million tablets in the third quarter. The South Korean tech giant now has 18.4 per cent of the tablet market, increasing from 6.5 per cent year-on-year.

While Apple still has 50.4 per cent of the tablet market, tablet shipments increased just 26.1 per cent in the third quarter.

Taiwanese hardware vendor Asus recorded a 242.9 per cent increase and now has 8.6 per cent of the tablet market, an increase from 3.8 per cent.

Lenovo also increased its tablet shipments in the third quarter by 100.0 per cent, year-on-year, with strong shipments to China, according to IDC.

"After a very strong second quarter, Apple saw growth slow as both consumer and commercial (including education) shipments declined and rumors of a forthcoming iPad mini began to heat up," Tom Mainelli, research director, tablets at IDC, said in a statement.

"We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini. Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter."

However, Mainelli said the high price of the article, which is priced from $369 in Australia, will allow Android vendors to edge further into the market.

"Competitors are turning up the pressure on market leader Apple," Ryan Reith, program manager, IDC's mobile device trackers, said.

""With the recent introduction of a number of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose. However, price points are critical in tablets, and Microsoft and its partners will have a tough time winning a share of consumer wallet with price points starting at US$500."

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