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Amazon Kindle Fire’s Apple-like blitz scorches Samsung

by Howard Wolinsky

Amazon’s Kindle Fire fourth quarter sales threw Samsung Galaxy onto a pyre, as Android-based tabs made their moves against the dominant Apple iPad.

Strategy Analytics reported that that 27 million units of tabs shipped in the fourth quarter. Apple and its iPad owned 58 percent of the market.

But Google Android-based tabs increased their share to 39 percent of the global tablet market, up 10 percentage points from the same quarter a year earlier. Shipments of Android tabs tripled to 10.5 million, as Amazon, Samsung, Asus and others busted a move, said Neil Mawston, SA’s executive director.

“Android is so far proving relatively popular with tablet manufacturers despite nagging concerns about fragmentation of Android’s operating system, user-interface and app store ecosystem,” he said.

Mobile app analysts Flurry’s Peter Farago said, “Overall, Android tablets are growing aggressively as a category.”

But the big surprise was the success of e-tailer and upstart device-maker Amazon and its Kindle Fire against established device giant Samsung. The Fire scorched Samsung’s breakfast, lunch and dinner, according to Flurry.

Farago added: “Amazon’s launch of Kindle Fire had more in common with an Apple-style launch than it did with aligning with the Android system. To date, the Android world has focused on marketing the operating system and the ‘power’ of the devices, with quality of content and the consumer experience subordinated in priority. With Google managing the Android Market, which lacks content control and a seamless commerce experience, inertia pushes those developers who choose to build for the platform toward advertising models.”

He said following the holiday season’s boom in Kindle Fire sales, 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 percent of sessions and Galaxy Tab represents 35.6 percent. Remarkably, and from a standing start, the Kindle Fire overtook the Galaxy Tab in just a few short months.”

Can Amazon Kindle Fire’s scorched Earth path close the huge gap to take on  Apple’s iPad? Let’s revisit this a year from now.