January 27, 2012

Kindle Fire Boosts Android Tablets to 39 Percent of Market

Kindle Fire Boosts Android Tablets to 39 Percent of Market

New numbers show Android-based tablets are gaining on the reigning champ, Apple’s iPad. Although Android owns 39 percent of the tablet market, some question whether there’s a ringer: Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The device is the first non-Apple tablet to lay a hand on the iPad, but uses a highly-customized version of Google’s mobile operating system. How much of Android’s gains are due to its barely-recognizable distant cousin, twice removed?

According to Strategy Analytics, which released the numbers this morning, Android tablets captured a record 39 percent of the market in the fourth quarter of 2011. That’s up from 29 percent over the same period in 2010 – a 10 percent jump. Meanwhile, Apple’s lead has been shaved to 57.6 percent, down from 68.2 percent in 2010. Microsoft is just getting on the scoreboard, registering 1.5 percent of the tablet market, an increase from goose egg in 2010.

The researchers lumped the Kindle Fire in with other Android tablets, although the version of Google’s software powering the Amazon device would not be mistaken for the heart of a Samsung or Motorola tablet. The Kindle Fire’s Android is optimized for Amazon’s services, such as e-books, cloud storage and simple video. That sort of customization helped the Kindle Fire become the No. 2 tablet, the first to make Apple even breath a bit heavier. It’s questionable whether Android tablets would see a 10-point jump in market share without help from the Kindle Fire.

The one factor in the Strategy Analytics report: it’s numbers are based on actual sell-through rather than simple shipments. The difference is that sell-through counts the number of products that reach customers’ hands, rather than what’s unloaded onto the shelves of your local electronics retailer.

(Via Cult of Android.)

Cult of Mac

Apple Confirms Kindle Fire And Other ‘Limited Function Tablets’ Have No Impact On iPad Sales

Apple Confirms Kindle Fire And Other ‘Limited Function Tablets’ Have No Impact On iPad Sales

Despite being labeled the first real competitor to the iPad, it seems Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet still has a long way to go before it can lure tablet users away from Apple’s device. Although it seemed to be incredibly popular when it launched last year, largely thanks to that attractive $ 199 price tag, Apple CEO Tim Cook says the Kindle Fire, and other “limited function tablets,” had no impact on iPad sales whatsoever.

When probed by one analyst during the company’s quarterly earnings call about the impact budget tablets have had on the iPad, Cook highlighted that Apple sold a record 15.4 million iPads during the last quarter, and declared that the company does not consider “limited function tablets and e-readers to be in the same category as the iPad.”

We strongly believe in optimizing applications from day one to take advantage of the larger canvas. There are only a few hundred apps designed for the competition, versus more than 170,000 apps designed specifically for iPad. People who want an iPad won’t settle for a limited function tablet.

And of course, the Kindle Fire isn’t the first device that has attempted to steal some of the iPad’s market share. Since its release in 2009, Apple’s tablet has influenced a whole host of slates powered by Android, BlackBerry, and the webOS operating system.

But the HP TouchPad, which was discontinued by HP last summer and sold off for as little as $ 99 in a fire sale, proves that no one really wants just any old tablet — they want an iPad. And Apple isn’t about to let its popularity slip away. Cook announced that the company plans to “continue to innovate like crazy” in the tablet market to ensure its device remains the world’s best-selling tablet.

[via MacRumors]

Cult of Mac

Amazon expected to cut Kindle Fire orders in half as new iPad looms

By Katie Marsal

Published: 09:31 AM EST (06:31 AM PST)
Orders for Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet will reportedly be cut in half to 3 million units in the first quarter of 2012, with slower post-holiday sales and the anticipated launch of Apple’s third-generation iPad.

Sources from Amazon’s supply chain in the Far East indicated to DigiTimes that Kindle Fire orders with original device manufacturers are expected to be just 3 million units this quarter. That’s half the 6 million units Amazon reportedly shipped during the holiday quarter of 2011.

Orders for the start of 2012 will top off at a million per month as sales are expected to significantly drop following the holiday shopping season. Suppliers reportedly indicated that the reduction is in line with expectations for companies like TPK Holdings and Wintek.

The Kindle Fire made a splash on the touchscreen tablet market last quarter, when Amazon began selling the device for just $ 199, or less than half Apple’s entry-level $ 499 price for the iPad 2. One analysis from earlier this month suggested the Kindle Fire took away no more than 2 million iPad sales from Apple over the holiday season.

Amazon announced in late December that it was selling more than a million devices per week from its Kindle family, including the Fire and its traditional e-ink readers. While the online retailer said the Kindle Fire was its best-selling product, it declined to provide any specifics on sales.

Apple, meanwhile, is believed to have just come off its best-ever quarter for iPad sales, with the just-concluded holiday quarter projected to have surpassed the company’s previous best of 11.2 million iPads sold in last year’s September quarter. Apple will reveal its quarterly earnings, including specific iPad sales figures, in its earnings call next Tuesday.

As Amazon allegedly cuts its Kindle Fire orders and Apple prepares to announce its latest iPad sales, anticipation continues to build for a rumored third-generation iPad. Reports have indicated that production of the next-generation model is already underway, and the device is expected to go on sale in March.

One rumor this week claimed that Apple is planning to hold an event in early February to announce its next iPad before an official launch in March. Such a move would be unusual for Apple, as the company usually begins selling a product very soon after it is announced, but some rumors have suggested that Apple will continue to sell its current iPad 2 at a reduced price to take on cheaper competitors like the Kindle Fire.

AppleInsider

Google Tablet Targets Amazon Kindle Fire – Sparking Family Fight [Report]

Google Tablet Targets Amazon Kindle Fire – Sparking Family Fight [Report]

Photo by kirainet – http://flic.kr/p/7VsMbN

There’s nothing like a family fight and one may be brewing between Android creator Google and the Kindle Fire, one of the few Android-based tablets able to lay a finger on the iPad’s overwhelming success. Although unconfirmed, a report suggests the Internet giant is planning to unveil its own tablet in early 2012 that could undercut Amazon’s price advantage. It brings tears of joy to the eyes of Apple fans.

The report from Taiwan-based industry publication DigiTimes, cites supply chain sources that Google is preparing a 7-inch tablet powered by the Android 4.0, the latest version of the mobile software tailored just tablets. According to the report, suppliers “believe that Google, instead of Apple, may actually be targeting Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire as its major competitor.”

In a bit of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, Google’s PR machine claims such a plan is news to the Mountain View, Calif. firm. However, just last month, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt implied his company would unveil a “tablet of the highest quality” within six months.

But there remains a number of questions. Foremost, how can Google produce a high-quality tablet and undercut the Kindle Fire’s $ 199 price? Secondly, Google doesn’t have the ecosystem that allows Amazon to produce a $ 199 device and make up for the lost profit by selling cloud services, e-books and other items? Although Google has some e-book and music options, they are nowhere near as advanced as either Amazon or as deep as Apple’s.

All of which brings us to the third question: should DigiTimes even be believed? Until we get some confirmation, the report is more suited to the role of interesting rumor.

(Via Cult of Android.)

Cult of Mac

Kindle Fire Holiday Sales Cost Apple ‘At Most’ 1-2M iPad Sales

Kindle Fire Holiday Sales Cost Apple ‘At Most’ 1-2M iPad Sales

Photo by the queen of subtle – http://flic.kr/p/aUoy8X

In the highly-competitive holiday sales period, Amazon’s $ 199 Kindle Fire tablet ‘at most’ cost Apple 1 million to 2 million iPad sales, one Wall Street observer said today. Despite the dent in sales, the tech giant is expected to turn in record iPad sales figures for this quarter.

“Based on data from Amazon, we believe the Amazon Fire likely sold 4-5 million units in the holiday season,” Morgan Keenan analyst Travis McCourt told investors. That means “maybe 1-2 million cannibalized iPad sales at most,” he adds. As we reported, Amazon announced sales figures of 1 million “Kindle devices” per wek in December. By comparison, Apple sold 4.2 million iOS devices (iPads, iPhones and iPod touches) on Christmas Day, alone.

McCourt believes some lost iPad holiday sales were enough that the tablet will comprise slightly less of Apple’s forecast overall revenue. The analyst sees the iPad comprising 21.3 percent of December revenue. While more than the 17.2 percent from a year ago, his estimate is less than the 24.3 percent from September’s blowout quarter.

The analyst also increased his projection for iPhone sales during the holiday quarter to 29 million units, up from 27 million. As a result, the handset will comprise 47.5 percent of Apple’s overall December quarter revenue, up from 39.1 percent a year ago and 38.8 percent in September.

However, the analyst lowered his estimates for Mac sales during the holiday period, predicting 4.8 million unit sales, down from 4.9 million. The forecast is lower than the September quarter, when the tech giant reported selling 4.9 million Macs. Traditionally, Mac December sales have been larger than the previous September.

Although his prediction is lower, McCourt sees Apple’s 4.8 million units sales for the holidays performing higher than a relatively flat PC market.

Cult of Mac

Kindle Fire cannibalized 1M to 2M iPad sales ‘at most’ this holiday

By Neil Hughes

Published: 10:18 AM EST (07:18 AM PST)
The launch of the $ 199 Amazon Kindle Fire had a detrimental effect on iPad sales for Apple, but the company is still expected to report record sales this quarter, a new report states.

Investment research firm Morgan Keenan on Tuesday trimmed its projected iPad sales for the holiday quarter from 16 million to 13 million. While less than previously expected, the 13 million total would easily best the record 11.2 million iPads Apple sold in the previous quarter.

Analyst Travis McCourt expects the iPad will generate 21.3 percent of revenue for Apple in the December quarter, up from 17.2 percent in the year-ago period, but also less than the 24.3 percent it represented in the September quarter. Part of his rationale for trimming projected iPad sales is Amazon’s $ 199 Kindle Fire.

“Based on data from Amazon, we believe the Amazon Fire likely sold 4-5 million units this holiday season,” McCourt said in a note to investors, “which probably means maybe 1-2 million cannibalized iPad sales at most.”

Amazon revealed last week that it was selling more than a million Kindles per week leading up to Christmas. But the Kindle family includes Amazon’s e-ink readers as well as the new Kindle Fire. Amazon did not provide specific sales data for any of its tablet-style hardware.

McCourt also on Tuesday increased his projected iPhone sales for the holiday quarter from 27 million to 29 million. He expects iPhone revenues will represent 47.5 percent of Apple’s total revenues in the December quarter, up from 38.8 percent in the September quarter and 39.1 percent in the same period a year ago.

As for the Mac, McCourt has reduced his estimate from 4.9 million units to 4.8 million units over the holidays, which would be down from the 4.9 million Macs Apple sold in the September quarter. But that’s a prediction that runs contrary to Apple’s recent historical trends.

For example, a year ago Mac sales grew from 3.89 million in the September quarter to 4.1 million over the holidays. In 2009, Macs grew from 3 million sales to 3.36 million in the December quarter.

McCourt said 4.8 million Mac sales for Apple over the holidays would likely represent “another strong quarter of market share gains.” He believes the global PC market will be largely flat year over year, while Apple will see 17 percent growth from 2010 over the same period.

AppleInsider

$299 iPad 2 seen shaking up tablet market, Amazon’s Kindle Fire

By Sam Oliver

Published: 08:04 AM EST (05:04 AM PST)
Though Apple already dominates the tablet market, the company could ward off growing competition and increase its sales even further by selling the iPad 2 for as low as $ 299, one analysis has projected.

The new take from Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes offered on Tuesday projects that Apple will keep its current iPad 2 available after it launches a third-generation iPad in the coming months. At most, it projects that the iPad 2 price will drop to $ 399 for the entry-level model, which would be $ 100 less than the current cheapest model, and would be a strategy similar to what Apple has employed with its iPhone lineup.

But Apple could be even more aggressive and price the iPad 2 even less, potentially at $ 349 or even as low as $ 299, the analysis concluded. A $ 299 iPad 2 is seen “seriously” affecting Apple’s tablet competitors, including the Amazon Kindle Fire, which has created a new low-end tablet market with its $ 199 price.

In addition to an iPad 2 as inexpensive as $ 299, Apple could also grow the iPad range upwards, the report said. The same publication reported last month that Apple will launch a new high-end iPad model with an 8-megapixel camera and high-resolution Retina Display, along with a mid-range model equipped with a 5-megapixel camera.

But that report also claimed that Apple would unveil the two new iPad models at the MacWorld | iWorld conference later this month, an event that Apple has not participated in since 2009. The claims of a so-called “iPad 3″ unveiling at MacWorld were quickly debunked by more reputable reports.

It was also said last month that Apple has begun reducing orders for the iPad 2, but added that it was “too early to tell” whether the 2011 tablet would continue to be sold at a discounted price. The prospect of a new entry-level model has been seen by analysts as a way for Apple to counter the Kindle Fire, which Amazon is believed to be selling for a loss in order to push digital content to users.

AppleInsider

Kindle Fire, Nook Fueling Orders For 7-Inch Displays As iPad 2 Production Slows

Kindle Fire, Nook Fueling Orders For 7-Inch Displays As iPad 2 Production Slows

Photo by Gadgetmac – http://flic.kr/p/aGaiSV

Remember the infamous Steve Jobs put-down of 7-inch tablet screens, telling reporters buyers would need to file down their fingertips in order to use the darn thing? Although we don’t see tinier fingers becoming the in-style for Christmas, suppliers are pumping out more 7-inch screens for the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet and fewer 9.7-inch displays for the iPad 2.

In reality, we are seeing a slowdown in Apple orders as the company slows down iPad 2 production in preparation for the iPad 3, expected in early 2012. Because of pause, more smaller screens are being produced, according to industry publication DigiTimes.

Citing “sources from panel players,” the Taiwan-based publication reports shipment of display panels rose 17 percent in November, temporarily overtaking demand for larger displays. This shouldn’t be too surprising, given Amazon was prepping its 7-inch Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble increased production of its Nook Tablet.

But that state of affairs likely won’t last too long. Apple’s iPad 3, which some believe could include a Retina display, could arrive as soon as February. Others have forecast a March or April arrival. Talk of Apple winding down the iPad 2 as its premiere tablet caused some Wall Street analysts to revise their sales expectations for the December quarter. Analysts settled on 13 million iPads sold for the Christmas period.

Although the iPad breather can explain the slowdown in Apple display orders, Amazon hinted at the need for more displays. Last week the online retailer announced it sold “millions of units” of the Kindle Fire, the device spending weeks on Amazon’s best-selling product list. Researcher IDC also provided some explanation for the increased orders for smaller displays, noting the two 7-inch tablets will likely spearhead Android’s charge against the iPad. The two tablets could increase the mobile operating system’s marketshare by 8 percent.

Cult of Mac

Amazon issues Kindle Fire update to address input lag, other issues

By Sam Oliver

Published: 09:52 AM EST (06:52 AM PST)
Amazon this week updated its newly released Kindle Fire touchscreen tablet, with the latest software version aiming to address some performance issues with the device.

The free over-the-air update is said to enhance “fluidity and performance,” as well as improve responsiveness with the touchscreen navigation controls. Amazon first revealed earlier this month that it was working on a software update to address some user complaints, including the sluggish interface.

The Amazon Kindle Fire 6.2.1 software update also allows users to choose which items display on the device’s carousel. After updating, users will also be able to add a password lock on Wi-Fi access.

Many reviewers took issue with some of the corners cut by Amazon to sell the Kindle Fire at its aggressive $ 199 price point. AppleInsider’s own in-depth review noted that the “deep cuts” Amazon made to achieve the Kindle Fire’s $ 199 price tag may have erased much of the tablet’s “potential allure.”

While the software update addresses some performance issues with the device, some user complaints cannot be addressed without new hardware. For example, common user complaints with the Kindle fire include the lack of external volume controls and poor placement of the off switch.

Users have also taken issue with the fact that the Kindle Fire lacks parental controls, and could allow kids to access pornography or make unauthorized purchases. Some have also complained of long load times for Web pages and a lack of privacy on the device.

Amazon announced last week that it has sold “millions” of units of the Kindle Fire, though it declined to give any specific sales figures. The touchscreen tablet has been the company’s No. 1 bestselling product since it launched in November.

Analysts have forecasted that the Kindle Fire will become the No. 2 most popular tablet behind Apple’s iPad. One recent projection called for Apple’s tablet market share to dip to 59 percent, down from 61.5 percent.

Kindle Fire users can check what software version they are running by tapping the “Quick Settings” icon, selecting “More,” and then tapping “Device.” Users must be connected to a Wi-Fi network and the Kindle Fire’s battery must be fully charged in order to update.

To initiate the update, tap “Quick Settings” and then select “Sync.” It will download in the background and be automatically applied once the download is complete and the Kindle Fire is asleep.

AppleInsider

Apple To Take On Kindle Fire With 7.85-Inch ‘iPad Mini’ In Late 2012 [Rumor]

Apple To Take On Kindle Fire With 7.85-Inch ‘iPad Mini’ In Late 2012 [Rumor]

That’s right — rumors surrounding an “iPad mini” have been resurrected by DigiTimes, which claims Apple is really going to give Amazon’s Kindle Fire something to worry about next year with an 7.85-inch model of it’s hugely successful tablet.The Cupertino company will reportedly take on increasing competition from smaller tablets with a pocket-sized pad of its own during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to sources:

However, in order to cope with increasing market competition including the 7-inch Kindle Fire from Amazon and the launch of large-size smartphones from handset vendors, Apple has been persuaded into the development of 7.85-inch iPads, the sources indicated.

Despite its smaller display, the iPad mini will reportedly sport the same resolution as the existing iPad, which is 1024 x 768. That means existing apps could run without modification on the smaller device, with a high-resolution feel.

Rumors of a smaller iPad — around 7-inches in size — are certainly not new, with the iLounge mockup you see above published over a year ago. However, they seem to have a little more credence this time around as Apple looks to address competition from smaller and more affordable devices, like the $ 199 Kindle Fire, which attempt to take on its 9.7-inch iPad.

[via MacRumors]

Cult of Mac