updated 02:20 pm EST, Fri December 2, 2011
Estimate has Amazon poaching other Android devices
The Amazon Kindle Fire has already occupied much of the Android tablet market in just one season, IHS iSuppli estimated Friday. At 3.9 million of the mini Android tablets, it would have 13.8 percent of the entire tablet share for the fall. Researchers are modeling for Apple to ship 18.6 million iPads, which would be enough to get it 65.6 percent of the tablet space.
The estimates also give a potential insight into how poorly general Android tablets are selling. At just under 1.4 million tablets, Samsung's Galaxy Tab line was still the leader of the rest at 4.8 percent. Its share was likely to be disappointing for an international firm on Samsung's level, however, as even Barnes & Noble's US-only Nook Color and Nook Tablet were within 50,000 units and just a tenth of a point away.
HTC's Flyer and Jetstream combined would be just 355,000 units, or 1.3 points. Every other Android tablet, as well as the BlackBerry PlayBook and other minority platforms, would make up just 2.8 million tablets and 4.6 points.
Amazon's presence led researchers to up their total shipment expectations for 2011 to 64.7 million and their long-term 2015 prediction up 12 million to 287.2 million.
The success came from Amazon discovering some of Apple's "secret sauce," IHS iSuppli senior manager Rhoda Alexander said. Unlike early iPad rivals, Amazon knew how to price its tablet and its business model, market it properly, and have a complete ecosystem waiting. Amazon also had a unique advantage in having its $79 Prime membership and profit-driven stores to lean on, since it could sell hardware at a loss knowing that it would likely make that difference back soon or immediately.
IHS iSuppli speculated that Apple may head off the Kindle Fire by using the same strategy it does with the iPhone, where the older model is still on sale at a lower price. Having an iPad 3 to keep the high end while the iPad 2 reaches the low end could eliminate some of Amazon's price advantage.