kindle fire wins.

it is an inescapable truth, and as an ardent nook pundit it pains me greatly to admit this, i just simply cannot deny the reality of it.

i can explain, but let us first look at the facts:

  • comscore reports the kindle reaching fifty percent of sales for all android devices (as reported in forbes).
  • conspicuously missing from comscore’s report is the nook
  • barnes & noble estimates that it has nearly thirty percent of the ereader market (according to engadget—which is more than reported here)
  • amazon has about sixty percent of the ereader market

stay with me, this is going somewhere.

it is not a stretch or to estimate that the nook sells about half as well as the fire which means that the comscore report does not paint the entire picture. if barnes & noble is correct in their assessment, and since they do not report shipping numbers it is not for certain, it is not a stretch to say that the nook sells at half the rate of the fire. do some simple math1 to account for the nook and the market share for the fire is somewhere in the forty five percent range and the nook in the twenty three percent range. the exact numbers aren’t important. the fact that the kindle has an overwhelming market share is.

as fragmented and disjointed as the android market is with multiple version of the operating system and upgrades at the mercy of the hardware manufacturers, it is no wonder that mg seigler from techcrunch.com argues very passionately that the only reason that the android ever won market share was because apple let them. he is right about the iphone.

his logic is faulty when it comes to tablets.

to be fair, apple owns the tablet market and will own it for a while. that is fine, i am perfectly happy with my ipad 2, and so are many others. but apple is not letting anyone win in tablets, they are winning because there iswas no competition.  the very premise of what the argument is that apple had a superior phone product that made the idea of a smart phone appealing to the mass and if they were on every carrier they would have dominated, which they are doing now. the reason for this is simple: the have a device that just works and is easy to support with developer activity (minimal variables to development).

android on the other hand has no standard and can be a moving target for developers.

so why is the kindle winning? from a geek factor it has limited storage, no camera, and has an ancient version of android (2.something). from a design perspective it is flat, ugly and frustrating to use because of the lack of physical buttons. it doesn’t even have a cool tech name like transformer, galaxy, or iconia. what it does have is the same thing that the ipad has: a closed ecosystem and locked down interface.

the fire wins simply because it gives users a device that is ready to go out of the box (just log in with your amazon account) with a simple to understand interface and apps (which developers love because the fire is not a moving target tech wise). amazon wins because they can serve up more content than anyone else (the nook benefits from both of this things as well to a much lesser extent).

apple isn’t letting amazon win this time, but rather the fire is winning and gaining ground by doing the same thing that apple did, but for an entirely different audience. folks who can’t afford or don’t want to spend the money on an ipad. the fire has proven their is a substantial market for a small tablet that allows for the quick consumption of content and media (for me it is a much better netflix experience because of the size and format).  the fire wins because it is unique enough to hold its own…

oh wait, there is no seven inch ipad yet? so if apple enters the market with an inexpensive tablet that size that means…

so the fire is winning, for now.


1 take the sum of comscore’s reported numbers (100) and add 27.2 (half the fire sales number to account for the nook) and divide the numbers given by 127.2 and the fire ends up at 43% and the nook at 21.5% of the market for a shared market number of around 64%.

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