Build a low cost tablet (that doesn't suck) and the buyers will come. Amazon's Kindle Fire is proof that there's a significant market out there for non-iPad tablets, and folks, we're just getting started. The Fire has only been burning for two weeks, yet is already on pace to grab the No. 2 spot in the global media tablet market, with shipments expected to reach 3.9 million units by the end of the year.
That's according to IHS iSuppli, which predicts the Kindle Fire will hold a 13.8 percent share of the global tablet market in less than 30 days from now. That's a pretty remarkable feat when you think about the head start other tablet makers have had, especially Samsung, which is predicted to settle in at third place with a 4.8 percent share.
"Nearly two years after Apple Inc. rolled out the iPad, a competitor has finally developed an alternative which looks like it might have enough of Apple’s secret sauce to succeed,” said Rhoda Alexander , senior manager, tablet and monitor research for IHS. "Initial market response strongly suggests that Amazon, with the Kindle Fire, has found the right combination of savvy pricing, astute marketing, accessible content and an appropriate business model, positioning the Kindle Fire to appeal to a brand-new set of media tablet buyers. The production plans make it clear that Amazon is betting big on the product."
The 7-inch Kindle Fire sells for $199, making it significantly more affordable than Apple's 9.7-inch iPad 2, which starts at $499 and goes up from there. Apple is expected to ship 18.6 million iPad devices during the last three months of the year, giving Apple a still dominant 65.6 percent share of the tablet market.
Barnes & Noble, which recently launched an affordable tablet of its own (Nook Tablet, $249) will own a 4.7 percent share of the market by the end of the year, according to IHS iSuppli. It's not clear if that number includes Nook Color devices as well.