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Kindle Fire takes 54 percent of U.S. Android tablet market

by Phil Hornshaw

Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, the 7-inch, $199 device that set the tablet market alight during the 2011 holiday season, seems to be continuing to command a big part of the tablet market in the U.S.

The Kindle Fire makes up 54.4 percent of the Android tablet market, Mashable reports, according to a comScore study. And it appears that Amazon’s tablet is soaking up the market share that previously belonged to Samsung: while the Kindle Fire doubled its piece of the Android tab pie in the last two months, the second place Galaxy Tab has gone from holding 23.8 percent of the market down to 15.4 percent.

In the third slot in comScore’s report was the Motorola Xoom. As Mashable notes, back in December, the device had 11.8 percent of the market; three months later, it dropped to 7 percent.

It’s worth noting that while many of these numbers seem pretty low, there are plenty of Android tablets on the market right now. It’s a heavily divided market, with lots of options and devices available. But that division makes the Kindle Fire’s numbers even more remarkable, because despite a huge field against which to compete, Amazon has taken over half of it.

Perhaps most of that success has to do with Amazon’s ability to move content to devices. Though its Amazon Appstore is still only available in the U.S., it’s becoming more and more successful. Developers are finding the store is good for their revenue, and Amazon is making a strong effort to add more apps. Among the most recent additions is the super-popular Draw Something, which hit the Appstore just today.

Draw Something has been incredibly popular lately, both on Android and Apple’s iOS devices, and it’s notable that the game is now available in Amazon’s Appstore. The company has been making a very strong effort to capture popular apps and games and make them available for the Kindle Fire. Even the well-received and fairly resource-intensive Dead Space, one of the top iPhone and iPad games Electronic Arts put out last year, has made its way to the Kindle Fire.

It’s still fairly early in the life of the Kindle Fire, so it’s hard to make too many sweeping statements about its success just yet. But for the most part, it seems Amazon’s strategy for developing the device has been a successful one. It’s backing it with its powerful content distribution infrastructure and it’s working hard to make sure that as many great apps as possible are available for the device. Add in its $199 price tag – on which Amazon takes a slight loss, according to reports – and all signs point to Amazon having created a winner.

Rumor has it that both Google and Samsung are readying new tablets, and that Google may be attempting to fight Amazon on the Kindle Fire’s turf. One wonders what Google intends to bring to the table to counter Amazon’s runaway hit.

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