Android grabs 22% tablet share – not!

January 31, 2011, 7:58 PM UTC

Reports that Apple’s iPad lost a big chunk of its market turn out to be premature

Galaxy Tab. Photo:

[CORRECTION: Samsung’s Lee Young-hee was misquoted in the transcript cited by the
Wall Street Journal
. A tape recording of her remarks show that she was describing the Galaxy Tab’s sell out as “quite smooth” not “quite small.”]

Judging from Monday morning’s tech headlines, Apple’s (AAPL) iPad must have got clobbered last quarter.

  • VentureBeat: “Android steals tablet market share from Apple’s iPad”
  • Huffington Post: “Android tablets eat away at iPad’s lead”
  • Computerworld: “Android tablets sales skyrocket, a clear sign that they’ll dominate the iPad.”

In all, nearly two dozen news outlets went with the report, issued by Strategy Analytics, that on the strength of 2 million Samsung Galaxy Tabs, tablets running Google’s (GOOG) Android had captured 22% of the tablet market last quarter, reducing Apple’s market share to 75% from 95% in less than six weeks.

But then an analyst thought to ask Samsung VP Lee Young-hee whether those 2 million Tabs were shipped to retailers or sold to customers — or to use her jargon, “sell out” or “sell in.”

The answer, posted below in full as reported by the
Wall Street Journal
, was that Samsung had merely shipped them.  Actual sales to paying customers, Lee admitted, were “quite small.”

“Well, your question was on sell-in and sell-out,” Lee replied. “As you heard, our sell-in was quite aggressive and this first quarterly result was quite, you know, fourth-quarter unit [figure] was around two million. Then, in terms of sell-out, we also believe it was quite small. We believe, as the introduction of new device, it was required to have consumers invest in the device. So therefore, even though sell-out wasn’t as fast as we expected, we still believe sell-out was quite OK.”

She added Samsung was “quite optimistic” about 2011 sales but wouldn’t provide a forecast. “As you know, the tablet is relatively new and we need to see how the market develops before we give any firm numbers,” Ms. Lee said. (link)

According to Apple’s fiscal Q1 2011 quarterly report, it sold 7.3 million iPads in roughly the same time period and was left with 525,000 more iPads in inventory than last quarter.

Via Business Insider.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]