Mobile

Kindle Fire leads Android in taking a bite out of iPad market share

Good sales of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet led to significant gains for Google’s Android operating system in tablet market share during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to new data from mobile analytics firm Flurry.

Flurry, which purports to measure application sessions on more than 90 percent of all Android devices, found that Android tablets gained 10 percent share from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011 and now represent 39 percent of the overall tablet market.

The Kindle Fire, which only just debuted this past November, has managed to best Samsung’s Galaxy Tab in terms of application session usage (a session represents an application launch and exit that is longer than 10 seconds). The Kindle Fire already represents 35.7 percent of total Android tablet application sessions, while the Galaxy Tab has been reduced to just 35.6 percent (down from 63 percent in November), according to Flurry data that accounts for most of January 2012.

From the data, one could easily infer that Amazon has not only helped Android carve out a larger slice of the tablet pie, but has done so at the expense of Samsung, and in just a matter of months. The deduction makes sense: the Kindle Fire is the most successful product Amazon has ever launched, and it was the e-retailer’s most popular gift and its top best-seller for the holiday season.

“In January, after the holiday boom in devices and in apps, we see that strong adoption of Kindle Fire, combined with significant downloads driven from the Amazon App Store, resulted in a massive surge in session usage that just edges out the Galaxy Tab,” Flurry vice president of marketing Peter Farago said.

Farago partially attributed Amazon’s success to an Apple-style Fire launch, its decision to offer a more consumer-friendly version of the Android OS, and an improved application purchase and download experience. Farago pointed to Flurry’s January analysis of five top paid Android apps as proof. The Kindle fire, he said, drove upwards of 2.5 times more paid downloads then the Samsung Galaxy Tab, even though the Tab is estimated to have double the install base of the Fire.

Amazon may be helping Android snatch up tablet market share at an accelerated rate, but don’t fret about Apple. The undisputed leader in the tablet category did not see sales of its widely successful iPad slip, as previously suggested. In fact, Apple is fresh off record earnings and sold 15.4 million iPads in its first quarter for fiscal year 2012.

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