Why have Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire shipments dropped off a cliff?

“Once hailed as the first true rival to the iPad, Amazon’s Kindle Fire no longer seems to be much of a threat to Apple’s tablet,” John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD. “The Fire had no impact on Apple’s March-quarter iPad sales. Indeed, during the company’s second-quarter earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said Apple is selling new iPads ‘as fast as we can make them.’”

“And, according to the latest data from IDC, global Fire shipments dropped from 4.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 to less than 750,000 units last quarter,” Paczkowski reports. “From 16.8 percent to about 4 percent worldwide market share in a single quarter. That is a swift and ugly decline.”

Paczkowski reports, “’The lower priced iPad 2 has seemed to offset some of the original threat of the lower priced Fire,’ Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes says. ‘Many consumers seem willing to pay $399 for a feature packed tablet with a strong and developed ecosystem rather than $199 for a relatively underpowered tablet.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Why waste your money on inferior plastic junk when you can have the utmost in quality?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan Kennelly” for the heads up.]

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35 Comments

  1. Umm, units shipped does not equate to sold, therefore stating market share of 16.8 is inaccurate. Amazon shipped units en-mass into the distribution channel which took two quarters to shift.

    I’m surprised that John P doesn’t understand that.

    What would be more interesting is to compare metrics such as return rates, customer satisfaction and how much addition revenue comes from sales of media and apps resulting from each sale.

  2. Emphasizing the Kindle’s tiny screen is stupid MDN. The iphone has a tiny screen, does that make it useless?

    I like my iPad, but I would like a Kindle sized iPad for the increased portability. I’m sure there are others that feel the same way…

    1. There are others that feel your way. As stated above, they’re a tiny, nearly insignificant number of people, whose combined purchasing power accounted for a whopping 4% of the market.
      Heck, I bet if every one of those Kindle buyers bought shrink-Pad, Apple’d not even covered the cost of developing it.

      1. What about the tiny, nearly insignificant number of people who bought smartphones prior to the iPhone’s launch? Should that have been an indicator that Apple had no business jumping into the smartphone market?

        How about the tiny, nearly insignificant number of people buying flash memory based mp3 players before the iPod nano launched? Should Apple have looked at that and said “Why bother with a tiny iPod? Everybody clearly likes the HDD models”?

        You don’t know what the market for an iPad mini looks like until Apple launches it and people can see it, hold it and use it. The failures of previous market entrants should hold no bearing on Apple’s potential success.

        1. I think Apple has a much better handle on the market for a smaller-sized iPad than any of you. And Steve Jobs stated definitively that Apple had investigated a 7″ iPad and decided that the form factor was not appropriate for what people ultimately use tablets for.

          Thus, no 7″ iPad will be introduced.

          The portability issue is ridiculous. You still can’t put a 7″ iPad in your pocket unless you have huge pockets, and few people carry their iPads (or iPhones) around without a case anyway, which just makes the 7″ iPad even thicker and wider.

          1. Yeah, just like Steve said definitively that the iPod didn’t need video capabilities and the iPhone didn’t need native third party apps.

            Nothing Steve said was ever final.

            And portability is more than what you can put in a pocket. It’s also a question of weight. The primary benefit of the iPad mini will be its lightness, which should be well under a pound, making it less cumbersome for extended periods of reading.

    2. @ cb: I have to defend MDN here. They said nothing about the iPhone. They spoke only about the Fire vs the iPad.

      I also have to point out that:

      1) There IS a market for an actual POCKET SIZED iPad. It’s called the iPod Touch. It is the best selling iPod. It makes Apple a large profit. I own one. I luv it. I use it every single day and have it with me always. It is solid metal and glass, not plastic Kindle Fire junkware.

      2) Smashing the iPad screen down to ~7″ does NOT sufficiently improve portability, unless you happen to be Captain Kangaroo with big pockets on your coat. No one is going to stick a 7″ into their pocket.

      3) Nothing all, ever, has made any profit in the 7″ OtherPad market. That market is an utter failure, exactly has Steve Jobs and Co. had predicted. Amazon sold the Fire at a LOSS, which explains ALL of its sales. Apple has zero interest in that market.

      The ~7″ market is not only dead, it was never alive.

  3. Because it sucks. It’s a shoddy piece of hardware.

    It does not, however, mean Apple would waste their time with a 7.85″ iPad. The iPad mini would be a great device that corrects many of the Kindle Fire’s mistakes, such as having a slightly larger (practically 8″) 4:3 screen and the entire iEcosystem at its disposal (apps will NOT have to be re-done contrary to popular belief). The iPad mini is still game on and Apple should proceed undeterred because they will once again get it right where so many others have failed.

    1. Your analysis makes no sense. Apple should release an iPad which is just 2″ smaller than the current iPad? Really? Why is that such a benefit? It certainly doesn’t add much for portability. The biggest difference is you probably lose battery life due to less battery packed into the case, because the electronics would still take up the same amount of room.

      So you wind up with a smaller screen, shorter battery life, and still can’t put it in your pocket like an iPod Touch. You have also just introduced another variable into the manufacturing, shipping, and sales chain, plus potential issues for developers (they would have to make some changes to their apps, even if it is easy or minor, to account for the new screen size). That makes no sense whatsoever.

      1. “So you wind up with a smaller screen, shorter battery life, and still can’t put it in your pocket like an iPod Touch. You have also just introduced another variable into the manufacturing, shipping, and sales chain…”

        It sounds like you’re describing the 11″ MacBook Air. Lol. Funny how Apple decided to come out with that even though 2″ doesn’t make a noticeable difference (at least according to you).

  4. “Fire shipments dropped from 4.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 to less than 750,000 units last quarter,”

    Holy sh…

    Well, I’m calling it. The Kindle Fire is dead.

    Although I guess that’s self evident.

    @cb
    The iPhone’s screen: right size for a smartphone.
    The Fire’s screen: wrong size for a tablet.

  5. A cheap, on-paper competitive product from a major brand got into peoples’ hands during the holiday season. The on-paper comparisons became real-world comparisons. Sales followed suit. Nothing to see here really.

  6. seen it over and over again: pundits blowing up Apple rivals capabilities way out of proportion and then real sales numbers come out to knock them back down to Earth: all these were supposed to be Apple ‘killers’ that crashed : Palm Pre, Zune, Kin, Moto Droid, Xoom etc, now the Fire…

    this morning I’m browsing through Lumia 900 etc news.. same crock.

    No doubt this constant stream of nonsense is what is helping keep Apple stock down with compressed P.Es … all the big PC using Excel wielding fund managers keep believing the NEXT one will kill Apple…

  7. I bought a similar tablet to the Fire to geek around on, and came to one conclusion about all of them: all of the cheap Android tablets require rooting to make them even remotely useful, and even then, you have to constantly kill apps that suck up the battery life and spy on you. They’re all junk, plain and simple.

    1. Yes, another huge and overlooked reason why 7″ Android tablets have failed is due to the simple fact that they run Android, an inferior OS for mobile operation. The iPad mini being equipped with iOS alone would be a monumental improvement over its flailing competitors.

      It’s absurd to point to these handicapped devices and say that an iPad mini can’t succeed where they have failed.

  8. When confirmation from all the Main Stream Legit News Media ( I think there is one left, maybe ), I want all those Kindle butt kissing bloggers/writers/journalist to eat crow!

  9. Back when Kindle numbers were first released, analysts and tech journalists were falling over themselves to say how great it was that Amazon shipped 4.8 million units and that the iPad finally had competition. No one pumping the Kindle at the time made the shipments does not equal sales argument–instead, they were happy to treat each shipped Kindle as a sale.

    Once the terrible first quarter numbers came in, they were again falling over themselves trying to explain that shipments don’t equal sales. Kind of hard to make a good thing out of the fact that Amazon sold a million or so less of the things at Christmas than the media/analysts were claiming. Now we know that Amazon was stuffing the channel with so many Kindles over Christmas that it took months to sell off the back stock.

    I bought a second hand Kindle recently…it is actually not a bad machine, but I don’t see why any regular consumer would buy one, and the effort required to make it useful is probably beyond the target audience for the thing. The software it comes with pretty much sucks other than for consuming Amazon content and the GUI they use makes the screen seem even smaller than it is. That you have to go buy an app to do something as simple as get a calendar synced with google calendar is idiotic. Rooted with Android 4, though, it isn’t a bad little tablet, particularly for the price. Stingy storage, of course, but good for reading books, watching movies, listening to music, and it is significantly lighter to carry around than the iPad. Takes up less room in a briefcase for taking to court, and fits in the pocket of cargo shorts for carrying around.

    ICS isn’t a bad OS to use, it just isn’t iOS and doesn’t have anywhere near as much polish, although it is much less dreadful than previous Android versions. Previous Android versions were crap in and of themselves, ICS only comes up short compared to iOS.

    The lack of any iTunes like software is a pain–manually dumping stuff into various directories is so 90s.

    The screen is just to small for reading full sized magazines or as-typeset books.

    So I’ve got one, I’m keeping it, I’ve started using it a lot, but the thing is limited, making it useful took some work, and regularly changing media on it is more effort than syncing with itunes. Actually rooting the thing and installing ICS took an hour and half, with most of that time spent screwing with bad documentation and wading through multiple ICS roms; the actually physically installation took maybe 20 minutes.

  10. The Fire was a One Hit Wonder – that Hit being Holiday 2011 gifts from several million people who don’t really know anything about such gadgets. it’s done already.

    but that is not to say the Fire 2 coming this year won’t be a lot better, and as a result carve out a significant consistent market share. it will be interesting to watch its showdown with cheap Windows 8 tablets, and the now-MS sponsored Android Nook too, as they fight for the bottom end of the market.

  11. The Amazon Kindle Fire was NEVER in the same market as the Apple iPad. So BIG DUH that it never made a dent in iPad sales! Hello!

    AND BIG DUH that Apple will NOT go into the ~7″ tablet market. There is no money OR demand for a mini iPad. That market is flopping around like a fish looking for water in the desert. Hello in there!

    So what has all the HYPE and RUMOR MONGERING been about?

    It’s been ENTIRELY about TechTard journalism and Amazon PRETENDING the Kindle was comparable at all to the iPad as anything but an eReader. Wake up in there!

    Conclusion:
    The Apple iPad is still waiting for competition. Where is it?

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