New tablets from booksellers Amazon and Barnes & Noble are chipping away at the iPad’s commanding lead of the market. The Kindle Fire is expected to be the strongest challenger, dropping Apple’s market share below 60 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, analysts write today.
“Amazon and Barnes & Noble are shaking up the media tablet market, and their success helps prove that there is an appetite for media tablets beyond Apple’s iPad,” said IDC’s Mobile Connected Devices research director, Tom Mainelli.
While most Android-based tablets have stalled in the single-digits, the Kindle Fire is causing some analysts to trim iPad sales estimates. For instance, HP was the second-place tablet maker in the third quarter with five percent of the market. Amazon’s tablet has reached 40 percent of the tablet market share, IDC announced.
Thursday, Amazon announced it has sold “millions” of the Kindle Fire, making the tablet the best-selling product offered by the online retail giant. In a more general statement, the company said it had sold about one million Kindles each week for the past three weeks.
Although Mainelli forecast the iPad will lose some market share, he maintains the fourth quarter will set sales records with 2012 marking gains in the enterprise and education sectors. Fellow IDC analyst Jennifer Song echoed that sentiment, noting expansion in Asia, along with new iPad versions will help Apple keep “global leadership.”
Earlier today, rumors appeared that Apple would start producing a 7.85-inch iPad in early 2012, possibly in response to consumer acceptance of the 7-inch Kindle Fire. Apple had resisted selling a tablet with a smaller screen, arguing a tinier display would hurt the user experience. The Cupertino, Calif. company is also expected to unveil an iPad 3, as well as a reduced-priced iPad early next year.