Kindle Fire singes iPad sales

Amazon's tablet is the first to inflict serious damage on Apple's monolithic market share.

Google’s Android may have passed Apple’s iPhone in the handset market.

But no rival tablet (Android or otherwise) has manage to put a dent in the iPad’s monolithic market share.

Until now.

Amazon will ship 3.9 million units of its Kindle Fire in the December quarter, says market tracker IHS

That would give the Fire a 13.8% share of the global tablet market – despite its launch being US-only (there’s still no word on a New Zealand launch date).

IHS sees Apple’s iPad dropping from 69.7% to 65.5%, and Samsung’s Android-based Galaxy Tab from 7.8% to 4.8%.

Other analyst outfits also see big Fire numbers for the Fire, which hit the market September 28.

Piper Jaffray picks 4 million sales by Christmas, Forrester 5 million.

Amazon has released no figures, but has issued a statement saying the Fire is its best-selling Kindle.

Where other Kindles are dedicated e-Book readers, the Fire – which runs a heavily modified version of Android – is a fully functional, colour touchscreen tablet.

Reviewers have called the Fire, which has a 7-inch display to the iPad’s 9.7-inch, clunky and slow.

But Amazon’s tablet sells for a killer price: $US199 (the cheapest iPad sells for $US499) and comes with free and discounted movie and TV content from Amazon’s streaming service (not available in NZ – a barrier to the Fire’s local release).

Amazon is thought to be taking a razors-and-blades approach, selling the tablet at a loss but generating enough movies, TV series and e-books sales to Fire owners to turn a profit overall.

IHS sees a booming US market, with 64.7 million tablet sold this year, against 17.4 million last year.

Locally, market tracker IDC estimates 1.3 million tablets will ship across Australia and New Zealand this year, more than double the 550,000 in 2010.

Of the 1.3 million 2011 Australasian tablet shipments, IDC expects around 300,000 in NZ.

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