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.


Amazon Launches Kindle Store Web App For The iPad

Amazon Launches Kindle Store Web App For The iPad

Today Amazon launched an iPad-optimized Kindle Store web app. Visiting amazon.com/iPadKindleStore on the iPad will now take you to Amazon’s new web portal for buying ebooks from Apple’s tablet.

Once you’ve logged into your Amazon account, you’ll be able to browse and purchase ebooks in Mobile Safari on the iPad. Your purchases will then be pushed by Amazon to your Kindle device or Kindle iOS app.

As noted by Macworld, Amazon offered in-app purchases for ebooks from its native iOS app until Apple made the online retailer remove its purchase links last summer. iPad and iPhone users were then forced to buy ebooks from Amazon.com and have them pushed to their devices from the web. There was no optimized purchasing interface for the iPad, until now.

While it’s true that the Kindle iOS app has let users subscribe to magazines in-app, customers will have to visit Amazon’s new web store if they want to browse and purchase ebooks on the iPad. No Kindle Store web app for the iPhone has been announced, unfortunately.

Browsing the Kindle Store on the iPad is a rather enjoyable experience. The HTML5-based animations are pretty fluid, and Amazon has done a nice job of laying out the store. You can browse your recommendations in a nice cover slider and see different sections of the store from the main page, like “New & Noteworthy.” The Kindle Store web app can also be added to your iPad’s Home screen for quick reference.

The new web store for Kindle will also take you to Amazon’s Cloud Reader web app for offline reading in Mobile Safari on the iPad. By tapping the “Cloud Reader” button at the top right of the Kindle Store web app, you will be taken to Amazon’s web portal of its iOS app. You can read your ebooks there while staying in your browser.

Cult of Mac

Amazon launches iPad-optimized Kindle store

You may remember the good old days when you could use Amazon’s Kindle e-reader app for iOS to pop right into the online Kindle store to purchase ebooks. That feature went away in July of 2011 in order to comply with Apple’s policies. Amazon today launched an iPad-optimized Kindle Store website that, while still separate from the Kindle reader app, makes browsing for ebooks a much more touch-friendly process.

The new website is visible at http://amazon.com/iPadKindleStore/ and features a touch-scrollable horizontal bar of recommendations for you. Down below are the Top 100 paid and free ebooks, along with the “New & Noteworthy” section.

At the top of the site are a search field, a button for managing your Kindle books, and a button to launch Kindle Cloud Reader if you prefer that for your reading over the iPad Kindle reader app. While the experience of purchasing ebooks from the regular Amazon site isn’t that bad on the iPad, the iPad-friendly site does seem to make navigation and purchasing something that your fingers will enjoy.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Comcast launches live TV on iPad, Amazon optimizes Kindle store for iPad

By Katie Marsal

Published: 12:54 PM EST (09:54 AM PST)
Comcast on Tuesday began to roll out its new “AnyPlay” functionality for iPad, allowing subscribers to stream live TV to Apple’s tablet. Also, Amazon launched a new Kindle storefront designed to take advantage of the touchscreen interface of the iPad.

Comcast AnyPlay launches in select markets

Comcast’s Xfinity HD Triple Play customers in Denver and Nashville can now access live streaming TV on their iPad over Wi-Fi at no additional charge. The cable provider said it plans to add the service to more markets in the coming months.

AnyPlay is only available for users who access the Internet on their home Wi-Fi connection. Outside of the home or over 3G, the Xfinity TV application allows users to access On Demand content, including 8,000 hours of movies and TV shows.

The new AnyPlay functionality is currently only available on the iPad, though support for the Motorola Xoom tablet is coming “very soon.” Using the service, users will be able to watch a show separate from what someone else might currently be watching on the TV.

“Here’s how it works… the AnyPlay device works the same as any other set top box in the home, but instead of delivering the incoming channel lineup to a television, AnyPlay delivers the lineup to the Wi-Fi router on the home network,” a post at the company’s official blog reads. “The router then distributes the secure video signal to the iPad or Xoom over your home’s wireless network. So as long as your tablet is within range of the home wireless router, you can turn it into another television screen.”

Word of Comcast’s AnyPlay service first surfaced last September in the form of a leaked memo. That document said that the AnyPlay service would be limited to 10 registered tablets per home, and only one device could be used at a time to stream live TV programs.

Kindle Store now optimized for iPad

Amazon on Tuesday stepped up its competition in the e-book market with Apple by overhauling its Kindle Store for the iPad. The new touch-optimized Kindle Store for iPad aims to make it easier to find and purchase books.

The new storefront is available via the iPad’s Safari browser at amazon.com/iPadKindleStore. Users must visit the website to purchase e-books on their iPad, because Apple does not allow iOS applications to sell content without paying a 30 percent cut to Apple.

Books that are purchased through the iPad-specific Kindle Store website are tied to a user’s Amazon account. Those books are then instantly available in the iOS Kindle application, available for free on the App Store. Books can also be read on the iPad Web browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.

Amazon’s move to cater more closely to iPad book readers comes as Apple is expected to announce enhancements to its iBooks platform at a media event in New York City later this month. The rumored media event will reportedly focus on iBooks and will feature industry-related announcements about publishing and educational content.


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

Rumor: Google to become Amazon Kindle Fire’s fiercest competitor in early 2012

By Josh Ong

Published: 03:00 AM EST (12:00 AM PST)
Despite the fact that Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet is based off of Google’s Android operating system, sources within the supply chain claim Google plans to become the Fire’s biggest competitor with the release of a low-margin own-brand tablet early next year.

Google will reportedly release a 7-inch tablet running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich priced to compete with Amazon’s $ 199 Kindle Fire, DigiTimes’ sources claimed on Thursday. The device is expected to arrive in March or April of 2012.

“Sources from Google’s upstream supply chain believe that Google, instead of Apple, may actually be targeting Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire as its major competitor,” the report read.

However, Google Taiwan responded by claiming that it had never heard of plans to launch an own-brand tablet PC. But, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt did seem to suggest otherwise late last month when he said that the search giant would release a “tablet of the highest quality” within the next six months. Such a device would presumably fall under Google’s “Nexus” branding used to identify flagship Android devices meant to model new software releases.

DigiTimes has lost some credibility in recent weeks after some of its reports were debunked by other publications. Pundits quickly cast doubt on Thursday’s report, noting that reconciling a sub-$ 199 price with a “highest quality” tablet would be nearly impossible, especially without the content ecosystem that Amazon relies on to make money off the Kindle Fire. The Fire itself has hardly been classified as high-quality, as multiple reviews (1, 2) of Amazon’s budget tablet, which arrived in November, have noted that the device feels much cheaper than Apple’s iPad.

Android’s answers to the iPad struggled for the most part last year, with the Kindle Fire representing the first high-volume challenge to Apple’s tablet dominance. Amazon said last month it had sold “millions” of the device, while declining to provide specifics. One analyst estimated earlier this week that he believes the Fire cannibalized 1-2 million iPad sales at most in the December quarter. Still, the Fire’s performance will likely be enough to propel it to second place in the tablet market after its first quarter of availability.

Apple has actually admitted that it doesn’t view the Kindle Fire as a serious threat to the iPad. Company officials view the tablet as potentially fueling further fragmentation in the market because it’s compatible with Android but the apps work with Amazon products. Such fragmentation would ultimately drive customers to Apple’s stable platform, they said.


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.