Amazon's first-quarter Kindle Fire sales tanked, but the bookseller is reportedly planning a larger version of the Fire and a midyear 7-inch refresh. However, the iPad remains the top-selling tablet.
Amazon wasn't able to sustain its tablet sales momentum
during the first quarter, after bursting
onto the scene during the fourth quarter with the introduction of the
Kindle Fire. This helped secure the online bookseller the No. 2 spot behind
sales present a unique opportunity for most companies, and no manufacturer
was immune from a dip in shipments during the first quarter, according to a May
3 report from IDC. However, Amazon's
shipments notably fell from nearly 17 percent during the fourth quarter to just
above 4 percent during the first.
Samsung, consequently, grabbed the No. 2 spot, pushing
Amazon to third place.
Apple, meanwhile, shipped 11.8 million iPads during the
recent quarter, down from 15.4 million during the fourth quarter. However, the
company still managed, with help from others' losses, to boost its market share
from 55 percent to 68 percent.
Although shipments of Android-running tablets were down
"sharply" during the quarter, IDC found companies such as Samsung and
Lenovo just beginning to gain traction in a packed market.
Lenovo during the quarter grabbed the No. 4 spot behind
Amazon, while Barnes & Noble, with its Nook, came in fifth. In total, the
industry shipped 17.4 million tablets during the quarter, representing a 120
percent year-over-year growth rate.
"It seems some of the mainstream Android vendors are
finally beginning to grasp a fact that Amazon, B&N and Pandigital figured
out early on: Namely, to compete in the media tablet market with Apple, they
must offer their products at notably lower price points," said IDC
Research Director Tom Mainelli, in a statement.
"We expect a new, larger-screened device from Amazon
at a typically aggressive price point, and Google will enter the market with an
inexpensive, co-branded ASUS tablet designed to compete directly on price with
Amazon's Kindle Fire," Mainelli continued.
While Amazon's Fire runs a version of Android that
manages to cut out Google, the Asus tablet, added Mainelli, will run a
"pure version" of Android.
Amazon, however, appears to have plans to get sales
figures back on track.
In a May 2 research note to investors, Canaccord Genuity
analyst Bobby Burleson rated stock for Atmel, a company that makes parts
related to touch displays, a "buy," explaining that a midyear refresh
of the Kindle Fire 7-inch was coming. Additionally, he noted the "likely
introduction" of a larger version of the Kindle Fire, as well as the
coming ramp-up of tablets running Microsoft Windows 8, paired with a "huge
IDC analysts say the impact that Windows 8 tabletswidely
expected to arrive during the fourth quarterwill have on the market is for now
unknown. A critical aspect of their ability to get in the way of
Android-running tablets will be pricing, which no one is sharing yet.
What is clear, IDC Program Vice President Bob O'Donnell
said in a statement, is that things are at least going to get a lot more
"The worldwide tablet market is entering a new phase
in the second half of 2012 that will undoubtedly reshape the competitive
landscape," said O'Donnell. "While Apple will continue to sit
comfortably on the top for now, the battle for the next several positions is
going to be fierce. Throw in Ultrabooks, the launch of Windows 8, and a few
surprise product launches, and you have all the makings of an incredible 2012
holiday shopping season."
Follow me on Twitter at @eWEEK_Michelle.
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.