Kindle Fire places second behind iPad

Fire has 14 per cent market share, while iPad has 65 per cent, IHS says

Amazon's Kindle Fire is expected to take nearly 14% of the global tablet market in the fourth quarter, placing it second behind Apple 's iPad with its 65% share, according to an analysis by market research firm IHS.

The preliminary estimate shows that 3.9 million Kindle Fire units will ship by year's end, while 18.6 million iPads will ship for the entire quarter. Both estimates are within what other analysts had predicted.

The showing from Kindle Fire , which shipped November 14, makes it comfortably the top rival to the iPad, while Samsung, with various Galaxy tablet models, is expected to finish third with a 4.8% share and 1.37 million units shipped.

Barnes & Noble, which recently launched the new Nook Tablet the same week as the Kindle Fire, finished fourth with a 4.7% share and shipments of 1.32 million in IHS's estimate.

Kindle Fire's impact on the market raised IHS's forecast for tablet shipments. Overall, IHS on Friday said it had raised its tablet forecast by 7.7% for 2011, with 64.7 million shipped.

Priced at $US199, the Kindle Fire has attracted a new set of tablet buyers, as compared to the Apple iPad which starts at $US499. The Nook Tablet is priced at $US249.

IHS speculated as others have that the Kindle Fire pricing will likely help push Apple to lower the price of the iPad 2 when Apple launches the iPad 3 next year. That strategy may happen anyway without Kindle Fire's emergence, however, as Apple dropped the price of the iPhone 3 when it launched the iPhone 4. It also lowered the price of the iPhone 4 when it launched the 4S model.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

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