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Google Inc (GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) – Tablet Roundup: One Stock to Buy, One to Avoid, and One to Watch

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According to Strategy Analytics, 40.7 million branded tablets were shipping in the first quarter 2013, up 118% year over year. So what does this mean for the major players?

Won the sales war for the quarter

Despite a lot of the negative attention Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) receives for selling old, boring, tired products, the numbers can speak for themselves: iOS devices account for 48% led by sales of 19.4 million iPads. Quarter over quarter sales were flat, but were down 64% from 1Q12.

Some investors can consider the numbers to be a negative for the company, but the rumor mill is heating up significantly regarding a redesigned 9.7 inch iPad and a new iPad mini, which should ship in Q3. The specs as reported by Digitimes include a thinner, lighter, iPad mini-like body with narrower bezels. Investors have been waiting patiently for a new line of devices to come out from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and it looks like everyone’s wishes has been answered.

Close, but still in second

Google Inc (GOOG)
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is stealing market share at a rapid pace. Android branded devices represented 43% of sales in the quarter, a decrease from 46% in 4Q12, but a respective gain from 34% in 1Q12. A total of 17.6 million devices were sold with the Android platform, the most popular of which was Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005930).

My main concern with the numbers is the fact that Samsung devices accounted for 23% of total sales during the quarter. Normally this would be great for what many consider to be the best Android devices, but there is a serious possibility that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005930) will plan to ditch the Android platform and utilize their own open-source platform, Tizen. Samsung has plans to begin releasing the platform before the end of the year. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005930) has plans to turn their Tizen platform into the new “Asian Android,” and this will be a serious loss to the Android portfolio.

Very distant third place, but tons of potential

With Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) devices accounting for 91% of shipments in the quarter, there are a few other players left to discuss. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shipped only 900,000 due to a lack of any meaningful apps, and what many consider to be a complete failure of their new operating system, Windows 8, to provide an edge to gain market share.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently took the opportunity at the second largest computer show to showcase a much needed update to the Windows operating system.  Dubbed Windows 8.1, the updated platform will take into account input from consumers on the Windows 8 system.  Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s chief market officer was quoted as saying “Windows 8.1 furthers the bold vision of Windows 8 by responding to customer feedback and adding new features and functionality that advance the touch experience and mobile computing’s potential.”

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