iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

Summary: A year ago, the Apple iPad dominated the tablet market with a nearly 40 point lead over Android. Now, two reports show Apple's lead has been cut by more than 20 points, with the Kindle Fire passing Samsung in the assault.

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Things are looking up for Android tablets, according to two reports released this week. The first report, from the research firm Strategy Analytics, shows global tablet shipments on the rise with Android taking a larger piece of the pie:

"Android captured a record 39 percent share of global tablet shipments in Q4 2011, rising from 29 percent a year earlier. Global Android tablet shipments tripled annually to 10.5 million units. Dozens of Android models distributed across multiple countries by numerous brands such as Amazon, Samsung, Asus and others have been driving volumes."

The second report comes from mobile analytics firm Flurry. They found:

"In January, after the holiday boom in devices and in apps, we see that strong adoption of Kindle Fire, combined with significant downloads driven from the Amazon App Store, resulted in a massive surge in session usage that just edges out the Galaxy Tab. Unrounded, Kindle Fire represents 35.7% of sessions and Galaxy Tab represents 35.6%. Remarkably, and from a standing start, the Kindle Fire overtook the Galaxy Tab in just a few short months. Total Android tablet sessions in January more than tripled over November, with Galaxy Tab sessions increasing by more than 50%. Overall, Android Tablets are growing aggressively as a category."

The numbers are not exactly comparable, since the first report looks at new sell-in shipments and covers October-December, while the second looks at total usage for January, but it's clear that Android tablets are finally getting some traction thanks in part to the success of Amazon's Kindle Fire.

Topics: Android, Amazon, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • RE: iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

    The Freedom of choice, its a sweet thing.
    daikon
  • That all depends on...

    That all depends on whether you think the Kindle Fire is an Android device. Amazon doesn't think so as there is no mention, to my knowedge, of Android anywhere on the device or in the marketing. I also believe that one must root the device to run the Android Market. So to me, this is not so much good news for Android but good news for Amazon. But, hey, anything that runs a browser is probabhy good news for Google. And, I doubt Apple is particularly worried after selling 15 million iPads.

    As Daikon said, though, "Freedom of choice is a sweet thing."
    A Grain of Salt
    • RE: iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

      @A Grain of Salt, Amazon doesn't have to market it as being an Android device for it to be an Android device. You need to be an Android developer to write programs for it, and those programs run on the Fire, the Xoom, Galaxy S phones, and any other 2.3.3 and higher devices. It's certainly not a "Google" device, lacking Google Map, GMail, Market, and so on (although you can put them on if you know what you're doing), but it's definitely Android.
      Ed Burnette
      • Not right

        @Ed Burnette <br>"Amazon doesn't have to market it as being an Android device for it to be an Android device."<br><br>It is an Android device but it is not an Android tablet. It is an Android eReader. It would be like saying Desktop Linux is having stunning success because many routers run Linux. A Linux router is not sold or used as a Desktop Linux computer so it isn't one.<br><br>Android tablets are a failure using every single measure possible. Android eReaders are beginning to see some success, as long as the company selling them are willing to take a loss on the hardware with the hopes of making it up on the content. You will never see Samsung selling a $199 equivalent to the Amazon Kindle Fire because Samsung can't make any profit on media.
        toddybottom_z
      • Failure?

        Then the phones have been a failure too? Because the tablets are following the same trajectory. And the Fire runs full Android, runs Android apps, what do you want it to do? So are HTC Sense phones not "real" Android?

        There will be a flood of great tablets coming and much cheaper. And we haven't even started with Win8 tablets which look like they will be very nice as well.
        stano360
  • so more android tablets are "shipping".. i.e. not sold to customers...

    who cares? is that news that a whole bunch more android tablets are being dropped off at stores where they will sit on shelves collecting dust until they are fire sales because no one will buy that at the listed price? i.e. if they give them away for less than they cost to make then people will reluctantly buy them..

    the other thing is that the only way an android tablet seems to be able to get any traction is if they make it look and work NOTHING like the Google version of android.. AND give them away for less than they cost to make.. LOL... and you call that winning?

    let's face it Google Android is a complete failure on the tablet form factor..
    theFunkDoctorSpoc
    • RE: iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

      @theFunkDoctorSpoc bingo!
      bobjones2007
    • Sitting on shelves?

      @theFunkDoctorSpoc If that were true then Flurry's usage data would not show an increase. The Samsung Galaxy Tab showed an increase of 50% in 2 months.
      Ed Burnette
      • A 50% increases on barely nothing is still barely nothing

        @Ed Burnette Quoting increases in percentages on a device that have barely sold over a year is kind of ridiculous when the competition increased by 100+%

        50% increase for Android tablets is in the thousands, while the same increase (ignoring that it more than doubled) for the iPad is in the MILLIONS.
        wackoae
      • RE: iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

        @Ed Burnette

        The fact is that Android tablets ARE selling. There are just too many people in denial and cannot accept the fact that people would actually buy a device without an Apple logo on it. These people will never accept the facts!
        mstrsfty
      • RE: iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

        @wackoae you hate this because you're starting to see Android following the pattern the phones took and if the Fire can do this then what happens when the Kindle Tablet rolls out the door?
        slickjim
    • RE: iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

      @theFunkDoctorSpoc

      Is that why they are already taking over 40% of the market? Yeah, they are such failures. <grin>
      business owner
      • market share = shipped.. not SOLD to customers...

        @business owner ..yes, a lot of companies are shipping android tablets.. that no one buys.. and then they make it to the bargain bin and then people pick them up with the pack of batteries that are also on sale.. this will last about another year max.. android on tablets is a losing proposition for the manufacturers.. android tablets aren't propped up by carrier discounts and carriers pushing them.. people mostly want WiFi tablets so this is not going to be a replay of android on the phone.. no one absolutely needs a tablet and tablets don't get given to you for free so people aren't going to jump on these things like they do with android phones.. this isn't hard to figure out..
        theFunkDoctorSpoc
    • RE: iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

      @theFunkDoctorSpoc umm, half of this report was measuring usage! Either the stores have a ton of display models or they are actually selling so, nice try!

      I will say, both my wife and I have one and honestly, the experience using the fire is quite nice, you get a lot for the money. I think the only areas one would need an iPad would be for camera related items and the gestures on the iPad 2 are very cool but for most those two things aren't worth $300 more.
      slickjim
      • notice they don't compare android tablet usage to iPad usage?

        @Peter Perry - so what's your point? they just compare among android tablets.. so if my tablets represent some fraction of a percent and that number goes up by 50%.. woopdee doo... who cares 50% of the tiny number is still a tiny number.. and when you consider that Apple's numbers have gone up 100% it's even less significant..
        theFunkDoctorSpoc
      • RE: iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

        @theFunkDoctorSpoc Listen psycho... Amazon reported good numbers themselves! And People are buying them, they just don't stuff as many into the channel as Apple does but that is because competition reduces demand for any one tablet in the Android space.

        Amazon on the other hand, has created a name for themselves with the Kindle line and the fireis reaping some of that success.
        slickjim
    • RE: iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

      @theFunkDoctorSpoc

      I am so sick of this talking point.....you know nothing about business, 'numbers shipped' is how sales figures are calculated. Manufactures can only know the number of their product that have been ordered by stores, unless the device is returned to the manufacturer, the manufacturer simply has no way of knowing how many may have been sold or how many may be sitting on store shelves.

      This is not just the way that it is done in technology, it is the way it is done in publishing (publishers report the number of copies of a book IN PRINT not the number sold) and in the music industry, a gold record is awarded when 500,000 copies of an album have been SHIPPED not sold, and a platinum record is awarded when 1 million copies have been SHIPPED.....

      The number shipped is simply the way that companies report sales figures...
      Doctor Demento
    • Android can't fail.

      I think there's merit in what you're saying, but other manufacturers have no choice. If they want to get into the tab/slab market (they do), they have to go with android since Apple doesn't license IOS. (MSoft isn't a viable alternative).

      I think with the Android success in the other mobile market (phones), it's just a matter of maturing the product to fit the form-factor.
      msweetnam
    • Nonsense

      Trust me Amazon is making money on the Fire, how come BB is selling the Playbook better equipped without the Amazon links for $200? At least where I live you are starting to seem them out and about.
      stano360
  • RE: iPad lead over Android tablets cut in half, say reports, as Kindle Fire surges ahead

    "Kindle Fire surges ahead" Where in your stats is the Kindle Fire "ahead". Too funny. What's REALLY funny is how much of a POS it is, and how those numbers are built on it's opening hype, which will dissipate just as the iPad's initial numbers did. If I were buying a tablet today, I would surely buy an iPad over the Fire. No contest.
    bobjones2007