By Ingrid Lunden
On the same day that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) released its quarterly earnings, some research from comScore underscores just how far the company has come since launching its Kindle Fire tablet in November 2011.
The researchers say that as of February 2012, Amazon’s Kindle Fire now accounts for 54.4 percent of all Android tablets in the U.S. Given how many different models of Android tablets there are out in the market at the moment, that gives it a strong lead over the rest of the field: the whole range of Samsung Galaxy Tab tablets, added together, only accounted for 15.4 percent of the market, with the Xoom following at seven percent, comScore said.
That’s an embarrassing state of affairs for a company like Samsung (OTC:SSNLF), which has not only flooded the market with different-sized devices but was an early mover in the Android tablet space. And these figures also emphasize just how much work Sony (NYSE:SNE) has ahead of it in its battle to try to get more traction in tablets and mobile in general.
On the other hand, the small shares for so many manufacturers also, inadvertently, gives a good opening for Microsoft to entice OEMs to build on its platform to try to wrest share from Amazon and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and its iPad, which is still the most popular tablet of all — although its share of sales has decreased over time. Apart from Amazon, which is using a forked version of Android, no one has really made headway among consumers using Android to date.
It also points to the possibility that if Amazon can create a successful forked Android product, will we see others trying their luck using this route soon?
Of course, there’s more to making a successful product in the tablet market, and what Amazon has managed to do is create a price-busting ($199), content-rich product that not only has the benefit of Amazon’s own content relationships, but by getting a critical mass of tablet users it is also attracting third-party developers to make apps specifically for its platform.
The full breakdown:
Beyond that, Asus (OTC:ASUUY) with its Transformer has made an almost equal impact as Motorola, with a 6.3 percent share of the market and Toshiba’s AT100 has a 5.7 percent share.
With some expecting Amazon to release a second model of the Fire with a bigger screen — and others speculating that Apple will do the same by releasing a smaller-screened iPad — the industry hasn’t really settled on which size tablet might be optimal. Some figures out from comScore give some insight at least into how different sizes get used.
Basically, when it comes to browsing, the bigger the better: a tablet with a 10-inch screen generates 39 percent more browsing than a tablet with a seven-inch screen, and a 58 percent higher consumption rate than five-inch tablets. (That’s not too much of a surprise, really, since it’s much easier to browse the Internet on a bigger screen, but it does also point to the fact that over time we may see more content created to capitalize on this trend.)
ComScore’s numbers come from a new research division called Device Essentials, which tracks Internet traffic on a device-specific basis. Other types of data it collects are around smartphone and feature phone usage on an OS-level; how much smartphone traffic is carried by different operators; and traffic for specific content categories based on operating systems and devices; and whether people are using cellular network or Wi-Fi to browse.