Report: Amazon's Kindle Fire fizzles

Posted by Trent Nouveau

The media tablet market shipped a total of 18.2 million devices during the first quarter of 2012 - racking up an 185% year-over-year gain and a -33% sequential loss in shipments. 

As expected, Apple's 11.8 million iPad shipments were accelerated by the launch of a third-generation lineup and price reduction on iPad 2 models, while Samsung's 1.1 million shipments returned the vendor to the coveted number two spot as Amazon's Kindle Fire shipments fizzled entering 2012.

Report: Amazon's Kindle Fire fizzles"A pattern similar to smartphones is also occurring in tablets," ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr explained in an industry note obtained by TG Daily.

"Apple and Samsung have demonstrated staying power while other tablet vendors ebb and flow like the tide." 

To be sure, says Orr, only two leading branded tablet OEMs – RIM (233%) and Lenovo (107%) – somehow managed to defy the downward first quarter shipment trends, while Taiwan's ASUS remained flat sequentially from 4Q'2011.  

Several industry heavyweights, including Dell, HP, and LG are currently revamping tablet portfolios for mid-year launches of Android 4.0 along with Windows 8 slates tapped to debut later in 2012. 

In the meantime, Apple continues to lead the market with nearly 65% of worldwide units - surpassing 67 million cumulative shipments in its first eight quarters of availability.

Nevertheless, Apple's iPad still can't claim the highest mobile broadband (3G/4G) attach rate for media tablets, though Cupertino retains its title of shipping the most 3G-enabled tablets by outpacing the number two competitor by a factor of eight.

"The majority of iPad buyers continue to be satisfied with Wi-Fi wireless coverage... The leading model shipments and the ongoing challenges mobile operators face in convincing iPad owners to even try the mobile broadband connectivity once are expected to continue for the foreseeable future," Orr added. 

Although shipments of Amazon’s Kindle Fire may have slowed, the online retail giant is reportedly preparing to launch an upgraded Fire tablet sometime in the near future. 

The next-gen device is rumored to feature a larger diagonal display of 8.9 inches, bringing it ever closer to Apple’s wildly popular iPad, at least in terms of form factor. The display size certainly makes sense for those interested in more of an iPad like experience.

As noted previously, I’m fairly confident Amazon will manage to keep its new Kindles competitively priced - even with potential spec upgrades like a camera, faster processor, more storage capacity and 3G capabilities. 

Clearly, the sticker difference is the online retailer's most significant advantage over Apple's rival iPad.