If you were wondering how much the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire impacted Apple’s dominance in the tablet market, IDC has the answer for you. According to its figures, Apple’s tablet market share dropped to 54.7% in the fourth quarter of 2011, which is much lower than it ws in the previous quarter. Apple’s market share dropped from 61.5% to 54.7%, while Android saw its market share rise from 32.3% to 44.6%.
A total of 28.2 million tablets were shipped globally in Q4 2011, of which 4.7 million were Kindle Fire units, and 15.4 million were iPads. After Apple and Amazon came Samsung, which shipped around 1.6 million units.
However, shipment figures don’t really tell you the complete story. Apple has the highest profit margins in the industry, and probably made more profit by selling one iPad, than Amazon made by selling 20 Kindle Fire units.
Besides, we expect the tide to turn back in Apple’s favor in the first half of 2012, as Apple starts shipping “The New iPad”. In Q3 2012, we should also see Microsoft start to make headway in the tablet market with Windows 8. Google’s rumored Nexus tablet could also help Android gain some additional market share. 2012 is going to be a crucial year for all players in the tablet market. My money, however, is on Apple… and maybe even Microsoft.
Amazon is yet to enter India with its full force, but the ramifications of the impending launch are already being felt. Flipkart, which refused to let itself be acquired by Amazon, has made the aggressive move of acquiring LetsBuy.com – its biggest competitor.
Medianama is reporting that Flipkart paid anywhere between $20 million and $25 million for LetsBuy, which is the second largest online retailer in India. Flipkart, which reportedly raised $150 million at a valuation of around $850 million, is the undisputed leader. It sells almost twenty products every minute, and is expected to cross the $100 million revenue mark during the financial year 2011-12.
Flipkart is no stranger to acquisitions, having earlier acquired WeRead, Mime360, and Chakpak.com. However, none of its previous acquisitions were competitors. Instead, they were platforms and technologies that Flipkart believed would help in improving its core product.
At this point it will be prudent to take this news with a pinch of salt, since neither of the involved parties have confirmed it. However, if Medianama is spot on, then by acquiring LetsBuy, Flipkart is formally flagging off the consolidation phase that analysts have been predicting for a long time. Although, online shopping is rapidly gaining traction in India, the entry of a behemoth like Amazon will undoubtedly send shockwaves throughout the industry as smaller players will be hard-pressed to compete with Amazon’s inventory and pricing. LetsBuy, which is well known for its extremely aggressive pricing, will undoubtedly help Flipkart scale better. Although, it is possible that the acquisition will hurt consumers in the immediate future by reducing competition, it will probably turn out to be a good thing in the long run. The consolidation of the two biggest online retailers will enable the resultant entity to offer a more spirited challenge to the big names that will almost surely make an entry in the Indian ecommerce segment within the next couple of years.
Update: Sachin Bansal, the CEO and Co-Founder of Flipkart, has confirmed that “the rumors are true”.
Amazon isn’t just disrupting the traditional publishing and distribution business; it is now sprinkling salt on the wounds.
A few months back, book distributor Borders started exiting, the company was liquidated. (The company’s website now redirects to Barnes & Noble’s). Amazon and their business model was seen as a major reason for Borders inevitable shut down. While one could argue that Borders failed to anticipate the competition, like Barnes & Noble, and did not adapt.
According to reports, Amazon is now planning to open retail stores. The first store will open in Seattle and Amazon will be selling exclusive titles. Like Apple’s iBooks and iAuthor platform, Amazon has a self-publishing platform. The Kindle Fire and Kindle Reader have given Amazon a powerful position in the publishing industry.
As TechCrunch points out, having a store, popular ebook reader, cross-platform ebook reading software lets Amazon disturb the agent, publisher, distributor model by becoming an all-in-one shop for authors and readers.
It’s an open secret that Amazon wants to grab a share of the rapidly growing e-commerce segment in India. Today, Amazon made its first public move by launching Junglee.com, which describes itself as “an online shopping service by Amazon”. Somewhat disappointingly though, Junglee is nothing like the Amazon that we are familiar with.
The bar on 100% foreign direct investment, coupled with the steep prices demanded by local players like Flipkart, has made it difficult for Amazon to come in all guns blazing. As a result, it has opted to kick off with a soft launch in the form of the revival of a brand that it had acquired almost fifteen years ago.
Junglee isn’t an online store. You can’t buy products directly from Junglee. It’s a price comparison service that pits several online retailers against each other. Junglee features 1.2 crore products and 14,000 brands from hundreds of retailers including Homeshop18, UniverCell, Hidesign, Gitanjali, The Bombay Store, Fabindia, Bata India Limited, Dabur Uveda, Microsoft India Store, Reebok, and Amazon.com. Conspicuous by their absence are some of the biggest players like Flipkart, Infibeam, and LetsBuy, which are likely to offer the stiffest competition to Amazon India.
Junglee isn’t the e-commerce destination that consumers had been anticipating and online retailers dreading. It’s just another price comparison service that is handy, but hardly disruptive. I am certain that the full-fledged launch of Amazon India is in the pipeline. However, until then, Amazon is testing the waters with this new India oriented service. It’s a smart move as Junglee will allow Amazon to get the logistics in place, while thwarting bigger players like Flipkart by offering smaller retailers increased visibility.
Apple may have had a record quarter and marginally beaten Android in terms of Q4 2011 smartphone sales, but Android is slowly gaining market share in the tablet space, chipping away at Apple’s dominant position.
According to a report by Strategy Analytics, global tablet shipments were at an all time high of around 27 million units in Q4 2011, growing 150% year-over-year. Apple was still the leader in Q4 tablet shipments, but its market share dropped from 68% to less than 58%, while Android gained more than 10%, accounting for more than 39% of all tablet shipments.
The largest contributors to Android’s tablet market share have been Amazon, Samsung and Asus. Most of Android’s gains can be attributed to the popularity of the Amazon Kindle Fire. While the iPad continues to dominate the high-end tablet segment, Android tablets are more popular in the budget segment. No points for guessing who is capturing a majority of the profit in tablets (Hint: It rhymes with Bapple).
Surprisingly, even Microsoft shipped 1.5% of all tablets in Q4 2011, despite the fact that Windows 8 is at least 6 months away from launch. I expect it to gain a significant portion of the market, once Windows 8 is launched.
Check out some of these statistics about the tablet market in Q4 2011:
Despite being launched more than a year ago, Google hasn’t yet managed to gain much market share in the tablet space like it did in the smartphone market. Apple’s iPad still remains the best tablet money can buy, and dominates the tablet market by a wide margin.
Almost all the Android tablets released to date have been relative flops compared to the iPad. This is precisely why Google may have decided to take matters in its own hands, and show its device partners how it’s done. Until now, speculation has been that Google planned to target the Apple iPad with its Nexus tablet.
However, a new report by Digitimes suggests that Google may actually be going after the Amazon Kindle Fire – the most popular Android tablet by sales – with its Nexus tablet. Apparently, Google is working on a budget Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet priced below $200, to take on the Kindle Fire.
If Google does manage to create a good device at this price point, it should be able to grab market share from Apple quite easily. However, it will also alienate its own device partners, who will have to drop prices too, and still may not be able to compete with Google itself.
Google may also launch two tablets – a budget one to compete with the Kindle Fire, and a high-end one to take on the iPad.
The Kindle Fire from Amazon runs on a forked version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and comes with Amazon’s own AppStore instead of Android Market. However, it was just a matter of time before developers gain root access and start porting stock Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich to the device. The developers managed to get root access pretty easily, and have even managed to get a CM7 build to work on the Fire in such a short time.
Now, just a couple of weeks after the Ice Cream Sandwich code went public, some developers over at XDA have managed to put together an Alpha build of Ice Cream Sandwich for the Fire.
Since this is a pre-alpha build, there are some issues including some video playback glitches, no landscape support in the launcher (which can be easily fixed) and some minor audio glitches. However, the developers released this pre-alpha as a Christmas present for the Fire owners, so they cannot really complain much. Interested Kindle Fire users can find the required files and steps over at XDA forums.
IDC just released its report on the state of the tablet industry in Q3 2011. Worldwide tablet shipments grew nearly 24% in the last quarter with around 18.1 million tablets shipped in that period. IDC expects the growth in tablet shipments to continue going forward, and expects the total shipments in 2011 to reach 63.3 million units.
Apple’s iPad continues to rule the tablet market, and accounted for nearly 61.5% of all tablets shipped with sales of around 11.1 million units. However, it is slowly losing market share due to the growing popularity of cheap Android tablets. It is expected to lose more market share in Q4 2011, primarily due to the spectacular sales of the Amazon Kindle Fire.
HP’s TouchPad fire sale gave it a 5% share of all tablet shipments in Q3 2011, and the third position after Apple and Samsung, which came second with a 5.6% market share. Barnes and Noble came fourth, with a 4.5% market share, thanks to continuing sales of the Nook Color.
Android tablets accounted for 32.4% of all tablet shipments in Q3 2011, but are expected to capture more than 40.3% market share in Q4 2011, thanks to the Amazon Kindle Fire. Even the launch of the Nook Tablet and other cheap Android tablets should help its market share in the coming years.
The recently release Kindle Touch has been freed. Yifan Lu, freelance developer, has dug down and posted details on an exploit used to jailbreak Kindle OS 5.
By embedding HTML and JS calls into an MP3, Yifan Lu was able to hook into undocumented debug functions in order to execute code at root level. Not only did Amazon leave a function that allowed any process to be spawned as root, they also didn’t bother to sanitize inputs when reading the ID3 tag for display. With root access, a simple SSH package was created and pushed, providing unfettered access to the device.
Yifan Fu is encouraging other developers to start writing plugins for the device. Open formats such as ePub or Mobi can be supported as well. While apps and games are a possibility, the e-ink display will really limit the possibilities due to the slower refresh rate, lack of color as well as lack of multitouch.
It’s very possible that the Kindle Fire isn’t the only device that Amazon is selling at a loss, with attempts to make up revenues by users purchasing content. Amazon should be concerned as it may open the door for users to permanently store content past the expiration date.
Barnes & Noble had a surprise hit on its hands last year, when it launched the Nook Color ebook reader. No one knew it would become as popular as it did. It was probably the most popular tablet of 2010, after the Apple iPad.
Anyway, seeing the success of the Nook Color, and the potential of an inexpensive tablet, Amazon got into the game last month, with the Kindle Fire. It is expected to be the most popular Android tablet this year, in terms of sales.
Barnes & Noble have also announced the Nook Tablet, which is an upgraded version of the Nook Color with much better specifications. Presumably, it should become a hit too, as it is much better than the Nook Color, almost equal to the Kindle Fire, and half the price of the iPad 2.
According to a report by Digitimes, our favorite source for Taiwanese supplier intel, Barnes & Noble has already ordered and taken delivery of more than a million units of the Nook Tablet. While that’s much less than the estimated sales of the Amazon Kindle Fire, it’s still much more than most other tablets out there. B&N had originally ordered 800,000 tablets, but anticipating increased demand, they upped their order by 25%.
Now obviously, these are just orders, not actual sales, but these numbers do help us arrive at a ballpark estimate of what the sales numbers should look like.