Kindle Fire

Data released today by comScore shows that the Amazon Kindle Fire has garnered over 50-percent of the Android tablet market in the U.S. With a 54.4-percent share as of February 2012, it sits alone at the head of the pack by a large margin, with the second place Samsung Galaxy Tab almost 40-percent behind at 15.4-percent of the growing Android tablet market. While it looks to be bad news for Android OEMs, it comes as no surprise to us. 

The Kindle Fire, like the leader of the overall tablet market the iPad, has one big thing going for it -- a unified "ecosystem" for content. We're mostly advanced users, who read blogs and forums to learn the different ways to use our devices and all the associated tricks that go along with, but for many they just want an easy way to purchase and consume content on their tablet. Amazon offers that in ways that Google does not, at least for folks in the U.S.

We're thinking Google aims to rectify that situation, at least in part, with the launch of the Google Play store, and a mystery tablet device of some sort this summer. Google I/O will be an exciting time, that's for sure.

Source: comScore


Reader comments

Kindle Fire grabs over half the US Android tablet market share


At $199, who cares? For me, it's a very portable read/play/watch device. Great for catching up on old episodes of Star Trek, Season 1 of Game of Thrones and the whole series The Wire. Also great for games of Scrabble while waiting out a layover at the airport. Much less fragile, less cumbersome and expensive than the iPad.

Will I eventually get a more seriously Androidy tablet? Yeah, maybe. But it's really hard to beat the Fire for cheap semi-passive entertainment.

Agreed. In fact, I don't even consider the Kindle Fire an Android tablet. If you didn't know it was Android, you wouldn't be able to tell at all. Also, it doesn't have any of the Google Suite Apps like Maps, Messenger, Gmail, etc.

It's a reader with a browser and the Amazon App Store.

I really don't even think it should be qualified as an Android tablet.

You're forgetting the two things that I think are the real success of the Fire: Price and advertising.

If Google markets it right, their upcoming $200 tablet could blow the Fire out of the water...but they need to MARKET the device.

I'll give you an example: when's the last time you saw an ASUS Transformer commercial? Never? Me too.

Amazon made a decent product at an affordable price, advertised it, and that's why it's kicking arse.

I feel like everyone who buys a kindle should root it to stick it to amazon. Like what they did to Google can be done right back around against them.

Yep. Was a pretty sad stock offering, and after rooting for the Market I figured I might as well slap a CM9 ROM on there. Haven't looked back, since. I don't need video playback, and as long as I can still access my books ...

The Amazon app store is pathetic and the browser was just awful. I know you could throw another browser on there, but it all added up to just a really poor experience.

I tried to give the Amazon experience a fair shake, but it was bad. Just waiting for Google's offering before I hand this thing off to some unlucky soul for $50.

There's a new Kernel available that enabled hardware acceleration on the KF in CM9 roms. That means HD video, HD YouTube, Plex, Netflix, etc.

Nah, for sure. I knew hashcode was working on it but I hadn't been over there in a minute. Was doing me good for the last bit so I wasn't really keeping tabs.

Good looking out, might have been another week or two before I peeked my head in the KF section. >_>

Thanks. =P

Oh please....what did they do to Google other then telling Google to frak off with their own services. I'm sorry when you consider that Google isn't playing well with others by coming out with competing products in EVERY market instead of trying to build relationships with these companies and partnering with them. Why should Amazon do Google any favors. Google has painted themselves into a corner by needing a solution of their own for every market. The end result being no one wants to do business with them beyond the bare minimum. Which in this case is getting their hands on Android.

I will state this again. I think there could have been a lucrative partnership with Amazon if Google had tried. Amazon provides the music\movies\books\shopping. Google provides the checkout services search capabilities both of which Google makes money off of. Would such a partnership have been formed overnight? Hell no. And it wouldn't have been easy to accomplish. But I think it would have been doable.

I feel like Google's tablet will have switchable over-lays. In which it will have a custom entertainment skin and then people can decide to switch to stock android. That's the only way I can see it working out for Google.

I don't think these sales prove that an "ecosystem" matters. I think it proves LOW PRICE matters. Every single person I know with a Kindle Fire is either a young 'tween' who got one as an affordable and 'cool' Christmas gift, or a not-so-tech-savvy adult who wanted one of those nifty 'tablet' things everyone has been talking about and decided to pick one up for $200. If this rumored Google tablet comes out at an affordable price with decent marketing (so the masses actually know about it), I believe the statistics will shift more in line with my theory of cost over ecosystem.

Content? Ecosystem? Bollocks!

You can get all the content from Amazon on any tablet you like.

The only reason the Kindle Fire sold well was the price tag.

Absolutely. It does.

So, the challenge now is for Google to make up for that by providing very similar compelling content at the same price OR to provide MORE compelling content at a slightly higher price.

Google is not going to capture back the >50% of the Android tablet market that Amazon currently has by pricing a tablet at $250 and putting less in their content markets than what you can get through Amazon. B&N tried that and they are solidly in the "Other" column in the Comscore market report (see link) where they once owned it.

Google needs a surprise here. It has to come in the form of price OR a better market.

I'm not sold on the whole ecosystem deal. To me the price is what has this device at the head of the pack. Heck, I bought 3 for almost the same price of a xoom. When the other OEM's bring their prices down I think there will be a turning point. Till then enjoy your profits Amazon.

Throw CM9 on it and it's a nifty little tablet for a small price point. CM7 offers a much longer battery life (at least at idle) but CM9 with the new kernel (search XDA) is buttery smooth.

Like others have said....its price more than ecosystem. You can get video and music from Google and Amazon onAndroid tablets. The only way ecosystem plays in is a bunch of Kindle users wanting to get this advanced Kindle.

Underscoring the reason I think the Google I/O tablet is going to be a ChromeOS tablet, not an Android tablet.

Google will never convince developers to target the latest and greatest Android tablets when the majority of devices a) Don't have access to the Play Store, and b) Are running a fork of Gingerbread (or possibly Froyo).

At this point, Google has lost control of the Android tablet ecosystem. There's no good way to identify tablet-optimized apps in the Play Store (contrast with Amazon, which gives Fire-optimized apps top billing), and there are very few great tablet apps to begin with.

On the other hand, Google is keeping the Chrome Web Store on a very short leash, and has very tight control over Chrome.

ChromeOS just got a major UI overhaul. Aura was not just about adding a window manager. Check out the Chrome SVN logs -- lots and lots of touch support went into Aura. Google's tablet future isn't in Android.

Personally I think it has sold well because it is one of the better tablets on the market. It is not without it's issues, but I like my Fire a lot more than my wife's Toshiba Thrive. It is too hard to type on in portrait mode, landscape tying is awkward, and I can't hold it in one hand. I know 7" tablets aren't for everyone, but I love the portability.

When I bought my Fire (day after Christmas with the money I received), I fully planned on putting CM7/CM9 on it (CM9 wasn't stable at that time). But after a week I really liked the interface. I think it is a lot easier to use than Honeycomb (I have not used ICS so I can't speak to that). This is coming from someone who runs CM7 on a phone.

I like playing around with roms. I like being able to easily back-up my data using Titanium. However, on a tablet I just want to watch video, play games, read books, and worry about making custom tweaks. The interface on the Fire is perfectly suited for these things. Not to mention there are a lot of apps in the Amazon App store that have a Kindle Fire edition. Some are rebranded, to force a re-purchase. Most are a different version and take advantage of the Fire's hardware.

I have not noticed the issues people have with the browser. Heck, for me it is nice just be be able to enable Flash which I can't do on my phone. Really the only issue I have is not having access to the Play store. However, I am not willing to give up access to Prime videos and the Kindle Lending Library to get it. I know you can turn root on and off allowing you to have the Play store and Prime, but I really just don't want to mess with it.

I'm not trying to convince others this should be their tablet of choice. It's only my tablet of choice right now. If a Nexus tablet comes out at a $200 price point I may consider selling my Fire, and buying it after my Prime membership expires. Or I just buy the next version of the Fire.

What I am trying to get at is I think the Fire sold well because of the Kindle name, the price, and the user experience in that order. A Nexus device with "vanilla" ICS will have a hard time distinguishing itself against other tablets the same way the Kindle Fire has.

Kindle fire has half the android tablet market share. Interesting. So Amazon sold the other tablet. :O

comScore measured web usage from pages that have their tags. It can be a loose indicator but does not in any way represent actual sales figures.