Apple (AAPL) has leapfrogged over Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) to become the largest U.S. seller of portable personal computers last quarter, because of the popularity of its iPad tablet computer that it debuted last year, according NPD Group's DisplaySearch.
Apple's 10.2 million portable computer units sold during the fourth quarter accounted for 17% of the market, compared to 16% for HP and 14% for Acer Group, DisplaySearch said. Dell had 10% of the market while Toshiba had 9%.
"While we anticipate increased competition in the tablet PC market later this year with the introduction of Android Honeycomb-based tablets, Apple's iPad business is complementing a notebook line whose shipments widely exceed the industry average growth rate," said Richard Shim, senior analyst at DisplaySearch, in a statement.
With its release of the iPad last year, Apple has led the tablet-computer market while forcing companies like HP, Dell (DELL) and Research in Motion (RIMM) to follow suit with their own tablet computers. Global shipments of mini notebooks, tablet and touch-screen computers will surge sixfold to about 122 million units in 2016 from about 20 million units in 2010, DisplaySearch said in October.