tabletsWhen it comes to shopping news over the last year, tablets have been all the rage. But a new report suggests that tablet sales may be slowing, or perhaps at least not keeping pace with expectations.

International Data Corporation (IDC) is reporting through their Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker that 17.4 million tablets shipped, worldwide, during the first quarter of 2012. That’s a lot of tablets. But it’s 1.2 million less than what they expected.

The last quarter of 2011 was a big one for tablets, of course. That time period covered the holiday shopping season just before Christmas last year. The Kindle Fire was brand new, the Barnes & Noble Nook was new, the iPad 2 was selling well. IDC reported that 28.2 million tablets were shipped that quarter.

A cool down was expected after the holiday shopping season. IDC predicted a 34% slow down, but shipments actually fell by 38.4%.

Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices at IDC, said that sales of the Apple iPad remained hot. That’s not unexpected, Apple launched their ‘New iPad’ during this quarter, to an adoring audience, and also dropped the price of the iPad 2.

There were no big, new, Android tablet releases though. So Apple gobbled up market share – from a market share of 54.7% during Q4 of 2011, to 68% in the Q1 of 2012.

“Apple reasserted its dominance in the market this quarter, driving huge shipment totals at a time when all but a few Android vendors saw their numbers drop,” said Mainelli. “Apple’s move to position the iPad as an all-purpose tablet, instead of just a content consumption device, is resonating with consumers as well as educational and commercial buyers. And its decision to keep a lower-priced iPad 2 in the market after it launched the new iPad in March seems to be paying off as well.”

There were market share changes within the Android segment as well. Amazon, with their Kindle Fire, was top dog during the last quarter of 2011. They had a 16.8% market share. That fell to a measly 4% in Q1 of 2012. Samsung took over the top spot.

But all is not lost. IDC is predicting that tablet shipments will pick up again quickly as manufactures bring new tablets to the table during the second quarter and later this year.