There will be nearly 15 million tablet PCs sold globally in the first quarter of 2012, down 30 percent on the last quarter, according to research.

Digitimes has issed a research report that claims 11 million iPad 2 "and iPad 3" units will ship in Q1 2012, suggesting that the report authors believe the next-generation Apple tablet will be available before the end of March.

However, it is likely that buyers adopting a 'wait-and-see' approach to the iPad 3, expected to be announced in the next couple of weeks, is one of the reasons for Digitimes' relatively low projections for Q1 2012.

It is worth noting, though, that 15 million shipments in Q1 2012 would be a 77.6 percent increase year-on-year, according to Digitimes' data.

Of the 3.97 million non-iPad tablets that will ship in this quarter Digitimes expects Amazon to sell 1.5 million Kindle Fires while Barnes and Noble will shift in the region of 300,000 Nooks. In all, 26 percent of the tablets shipped in Q1 will be based on Android, Digitimes forecasts.

Of the 13.5 million of these tablets that are manufactured in Taiwan, Foxconn will be responsible for 83 percent of them, the research indicates.