Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) began accepting preorders for its Kindle Fire tablet computer a week ago, and it already may be on pace to sell 2.5 million units, according to data leaked to an industry blog.
The Kindle Fire is a 7-inch tablet based on a customized version of Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the slate Sept. 28 in New York City, pledging to sell it Nov. 15 for $199 and one month of Amazon Prime free two-day shipping and Instant Videos.
The Cult of Android blog obtained screenshots of Amazon's internal inventory management system, code-named Alaska (Availability Lookup and SKU Aggregator).
The screenshots indicate Amazon booking preorders of up to 2,000 units per hour, or over 50,000 per day. By Oct. 3, or five days after Amazon made the Fire available for preorder on its Website, over 250,000 tablets were preordered.
Cult of Android noted that if Amazon manages to average 50,000 Kindle Fire sales per day, Amazon will have to ship 2.5 million Kindle Fire tablets when the device goes on sale Nov. 15.
By itself, that number doesn't mean much beyond the fact that there is keen demand for the device. But the 2.5 million unit figure is also the same number of iPad 2 gadgets Apple sold in its first full month of sales. If the numbers hold, the Kindle Fire will be keeping some heady company.
It's easy to dismiss the blog's screenshots as a Photoshop exercise, but the alleged Amazon numbers are in keeping with figures from another source. Market researcher eDataSource said Amazon is booking over 20,000 Kindle Fire sales each day after accepting 95,000 Kindle Fire orders on the first day of preordering.
Over six days, that comes to a total of about 215,000, eDataSource CEO Carter Nicholas told CNET. That would certainly put sales of the Fire well over 2 million units upon launch.
Some analysts fairly questioned whether Amazon will have enough in stock to meet demand, but the company has assured consumers it has learned from its first Kindle launch in 2007, when its e-readers sold out in a week. Bezos and other executives said the company will have millions of Kindle Fires available for shoppers this holiday season.
At $199, it's easy to see why the tablet is so desirable. It has a multi-touch display (1,024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, with 16 million colors), a speedy new Web browser called Silk, and easy access to Amazon content, including Instant Video, MP3 music downloads and applications.
Other Android tablets, such as the HTC Flyer and Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook, have been discounted to $299, but they launched at $499.