Analysis firm NPD has released one last report on tablet computers before the holiday season officially kicks off, and something crazy is happening to that market. Outside of the iPad (which of course is currently dominating the space), the next big contender goes to ... the HP TouchPad, a device which has already been discontinued. Despite simply selling off its stock of tablets at discounted prices, HP has earned itself a 17% share in the market, enough to top the next manufacturer on the list, Samsung. That's kind of crazy, and it shows you just how quickly and powerfully Apple has leaped ahead in this market.
I do think we're at a sort of weird crossroads in the tablet space, however. The Kindle Fire from Amazon just released recently, and it's not hard to guess that we'll see some nice sales of that tablet over the holidays. And as the HP news proves, while the iPad may be dominant in the space in terms of quality and features, price can still be a motivator to push tablet brands forward. NPD also says that "76% of consumers who purchased a non-Apple tablet didn't even consider the iPad," so clearly there's a large market of non-Apple buyers out there looking for a cheaper alternative.
That said, we'll also see plenty of iPad sales over the holiday season, no doubt. The tablet market is just getting started, and already Apple has a very nice head start.