Cheap Kindle Fire absorbed some tablet marketshare ahead of new iPad launch

IDC just released its Q4 2011 report on tablet shipments and Apple continues to lead the market with 54.7-percent of global market share despite being down from 61.5-percent in the quarter before. Apple did increase shipments to 15.4 million units in Q4 (up from 11.1 million in Q3), but experienced an overall decrease in market share thanks to strong gains from Amazon’s Kindle Fire and other Android devices from competitors such as Samsung.

Kindle Fire is now the iPad’s biggest competitor with 16.8-percent of the tablet market due to 4.7 million units shipped during Q4, which is followed by Samsung with 5.8-percent of the market (up from 5.5-percent in Q3). IDC noted Apple’s results for the quarter represent “an increase of 110.5-percent from 4Q10.” The Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble came in fourth, but it fell slightly to 3.5-percent of the market (from 4.5-percent the quarter before). Pandigital took the No. 5 spot, but it is down from 2.9-percent to 2.5-percent market share.

As for iOS vs. Android, IDC is expecting Android to overtake iOS for global market share by 2015 and noted that Android now has 44.6-percent of the market as of Q4 2011. That resulted in a decrease for iOS, which fell from 61.6-percent to 54.7-during the quarter. As we noted before, IDC’s report accounts for tablet shipments and not actual sales. We know Apple typically sells as many new devices as it can make, and the same cannot be said for devices shipped by all Android vendors. Research Director at IDC’s Mobile Connected Devices Tom Mainelli talked about the report:

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Apple is testing 8-inch iPad, says WSJ

Following Wall Street Journal’s report last night that AT&T and Verizon will carry the LTE iPad 3, the publication is reporting that Apple is now testing an 8-inch iPad in its labs. While WSJis not exactly sure the version will launch, it does claim the iPad is being tested.

Officials at some of Apple’s suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around 8-inches, and said it is qualifying suppliers for it. Apple’s latest tablet, the iPad 2, comes with a 9.7-inch screen. It was launched last year.

WSJ’s sources said the 8-inch iPad’s screen would pack a 1,024-by- 768 display similar to the current iPad. The smaller version will apparently also pack a LTE chip inside, as WSJ said the iPad 3 would.

There is always the chance that the 8-inch iPad will not see the light of day, because Apple tests things and sometimes does not bring them to market. An 8-inch variant of the iPad would be a close competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which has seen great growth.

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Amazon’s Kindle Fire reduces Apple’s lead, but iPad still rules holiday quarter with 58 percent market share

Apple’s iPad maintained its market lead throughout fourth quarter of last year even though it lost some ground compared to the previous quarter due to an influx of Android-based tablets. In fact, Amazon’s dirt-cheap Kindle Fire device that costs just $199 saved the day for Android slates, really. This is the gist of the latest survey by research firm Strategy Analytics that was released this morning.

Global tablet shipments reached 26.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011— up 150 percent from 10.7 million from the year-ago quarter. Global tablet shipments hit 66.9 million units throughout 2011— a 260 percent increase from just 18.6 million units in 2010. Looking at how tablet vendors performed throughout Q4 2011, the survey recorded a 39.1 percent share for tablets powered by Android. Even though it is a record for tablets driven by Google’s software, Apple sold 15.43 million iPads during the holiday quarter for a healthy 57.6 percent share. This left the remaining 3 percent for tablets outside the Android/iOS tablet duopoly, with Microsoft-driven devices holding onto 1 percent share of the market.

This compares to a Strategy Analytics’ survey for the September 2011 quarter that depicted a 27 percent share for Android tablets in Q3 2011 (up from 2.3 percent in Q3 2010) and 67 percent for iPad (down from 96 percent in Q3 2010). Android tablets are clearly picking up steam, largely based on the success of Amazon’s device that launched Oct. 15, 2011. Still, the iPad is expected to remain king of the hill as analysts expect its lead to maintain throughout 2012.

Strategy Analytics Research Director Peter King opined:

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Pew: Tablet ownership doubled during holidays, bodes well for Apple’s Q1

Pew Research published some incredibly impressive tablet sales data over the weekend.  From December to January, tablet ownership almost doubled.

While both the Nook Color and the Kindle Fire were included as tablets (not eReaders) and were hot this holiday season, the iPad is still by far the most popular tablet out there and likely the lion’s share of the 19 percent of American households which now own a tablet.  That translates to many iPads under the Christmas tree.

Tablet ownership increased for certain segments of the population more than others did…

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Did the Kindle outsell the iPad at Best Buy last weekend?

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Some are saying that just because the Kindle sits atop the BestBuy.com “Best Selling” tablets category, it is outselling the iPad 2.

Not so fast.

There is exactly one model of Kindle Fire, while there are about 16 models of iPad, two of which are second and third on the list and iPads make up a majority of the top 15 list.  Did number 1 outnumber #2+#3+#5+#6…?

Could the Fire be the top selling tablet at Best Buy still?  Sure (unlikely), but there is no way to tell from the data provided.

And that’s before you get the to the whole $199, making money on the razor blades business model. Read more

Amazon’s Kindle Fire vs. Apple’s iPad 2


With the $199 Kindle Fire out of the gate, the inevitable questions pops into mind: Which is faster overall, the Amazon or Apple tablet?

The comparison isn’t really fair because Amazon skimped on internal components, which was key to its breakthrough $199 price point. An iFixit teardown reveals Texas Instruments’ OMAP 4430 chip inside the device, also  found inside Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

For starters, iPad 2 boots much quicker than the Amazon tablet – again, due to its more efficient dual-core processor and optimized software. Browsing the web? No surprises here either, Safari on iPad 2 stormed ahead, performing noticeably faster than Amazon’s Silk browser which offloads page rendering to the Amazon cloud. One thing to remember: In this test, Kindle Fire was loading Flash content which of course is not supported on Apple’s device.

The iPad 2’s graphics unit, praised for its nine times performance jump, helps with scrolling, which is pretty choppy most of the time on Amazon’s device. One surprising finding is that Kindle Fire streams Netflix smoother than iPad 2, most likely due to the new version of their Android client which is not yet available for Apple’s platform.

This is not the most scientific test in the world, mind you. Again, as 9to5Google noted in its quick review, there’s really no comparing Kindle Fire to iPad 2, be it on the price, overall polish, performance or shininess. As for the speed, mainstream buyers may not be interested in raw specs anymore and Amazon has priced this thing out of the range of the Samsungs and BlackBerrys of this world so it’s more of a competitor to Android tablets than to Apple.

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Netflix promises revamped iPad app “in a few weeks”

In addition to a revamped Android version, Netflix said today that a “new tablet experience should be available for members with iPads in a few weeks”. What’s the new tablet experience like? According to a press release and a blog post, Netflix aims to consolidate the app’s user interface across iOS and Android tablets with a “much more immersive” design that manages to cram up twice as many movies and television shows as before without looking cluttered. Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix, says:

In the last 12 months we have seen a threefold increase in how long Netflix members are watching on their tablets. We’re happy to debut a new user experience coinciding with the release of the next generation of devices from industry leaders. The new Netflix interface offers a significant improvement in browsing and searching for TV shows and movies to instantly watch.

Each item in the new interface sports a larger artwork than before and you can swipe between the individual rows of titles. If this sounds familiar, you’re right – a similar experience is built into supported set-top boxes, gaming consoles and other Netflix-ready devices.

Interestingly, the new Netflix software is also available for the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. Netflix also offers a free trail, here.

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Amazon Fire “expected to sell well among parents who always buy the wrong thing”

Funny, because it is true? SNL’s Seth Meyers tackles the Fire vs. iPad debate at 48 secs in (YouTube).

You know, no one is really talking about this, but at a smaller 7 inches and priced at $199, the Kindle Fire is more of an iPod touch competitor than a iPad competitor…at least as far as budgets and capabilities are concerned.

We’ve heard there are some iPod touch price cuts coming on Tuesday which should make them even more competitive.