Although Microsoft is staying mum about Windows 8 tablet sales, research firm Strategy Analytics has some slightly encouraging news.
In the first quarter of 2013, Windows 8 and RT devices accounted for 7.5 percent of the tablet market, with 3 million units shipped. That’s up from 0 percent a year earlier, before Windows-based tablets were feasible.
Granted, 7.5 percent of the market isn’t a huge number.
In a statement to CNet, Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Shah referred to the Windows tablet market as a “niche,” set back by “limited distribution, a shortage of top tier apps, and confusion in the market.” Clearly, Microsoft still has work to do.
But it’s also not a terrible number considering what the composition of the tablet market.
Android now accounts for 43.4 percent of the market according to Strategy Analytics, but the vast majority of those tablets are small, low-cost devices such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablets, and Google’s Nexus 7.
That leaves the large tablet market, in which Apple’s full-sized iPad is the only real competition.
Apple sold 19.5 million iPads in the first quarter—that includes both the regular iPad and the iPad Mini, but the exact sales split isn’t clear—while Windows tablet makers shipped 3 million units. Things get a little tricky here because Strategy Analytics is comparing end-user sales to shipments, but it still looks like a decent first effort for Microsoft’s operating system.
To be clear, the numbers aren’t anything for Microsoft to brag about, which may explain why the company isn’t doing any bragging. But as an answer to the larger tablet market and declining PC sales, Windows 8 is off to a decent start.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.