Mobile Devices

January 28, 2013

Amazon's Kindle Fire: The Barn-Burner of Android Tablet Sales

Anyone who's gone shopping for an Android tablet in recent memory is likely familiar with the sheer array of the devices out there. But while there are a huge number of devices available for potential buyers to pick up, from the Google Nexus 7 to the Samsung Galaxy Tab line, recent reports show that a whole lot of the Android tablet market is going in one direction: the Amazon Kindle Fire.

The report, created by mobile app analytics service Localytics, shows that, when it comes to Android tablets, there is no bigger barn-burner than the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire line, according to the report which reportedly goes live tomorrow, based on just the numbers from the United States, represents fully 33 percent of all Android tablets currently available worldwide. The United States itself represents fully 59 percent of all tablet sales on the planet, so that's a significant gain for the Kindle Fire.

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That number is skewing so remarkably due to factors of availability, according to the report. The Kindle Fire was originally available in the United States, and though it later went to some markets in Europe, the sales figures were still very much heavily weighted toward United States numbers. Localytics, therefore, can estimate that 89 percent of all Kindle Fire devices are currently found in the United States. Either way, though, with the Kindle Fire representing fully a third of a 59 percent-share market, and competing tablets coming nowhere near those numbers--the next highest is 10 percent of the United States market held by the Barnes & Noble Nook line--the Kindle Fire is still set to be the tablet to beat.

Some reports say the discrepancy will only get more pronounced following a Chinese launch. Amazon's app store has already gone live there, and since the Kindle Fire is specifically geared to work with the Amazon app store, that means a whole lot of potential new buyers who are already familiar with--and fond of--the related infrastructure. Localytics' report even suggests that Android developers should put a special focus on developing with the Kindle Fire in mind. One of the biggest selling tablets doesn't feature Google Play, which means getting development in place for the platform that can is a smart idea by any stretch.

Originally, there were many who thought that Amazon's strategy would backfire, yet many who also thought it a smart idea. Amazon was a downright king of content, after all--ebooks, videos, music, even games--so why not develop a platform that allows users access to all that content on the go, and then price it at a loss so as to get interest and get more people buying content? It's a strategy that seems to be working, though whether or not it will continue to do so remains to be seen. Still, with more content arriving every day--like Stephen King's new "Guns", available only on Kindle--and more potential users coming online, it's a safe bet that what has already worked for Amazon will continue to do so.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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