Just weeks after dismissing the Kindle Fire as a potential challenger to the iPad (s aapl), J.P. Morgan is now upping its assessment of Amazon’s debut tablet (s amzn), saying the device is expected to move 4.5 to 5 million units in the fourth quarter. Based on checks with supply chain vendors, J.P. Morgan’s hardware team reports production momentum for the Fire has is up sharply of late, suggesting that the device is seeing a lot of pre-order demand. Several vendors, including Foundry partners, have experienced rush orders in the last two to three weeks, J.P. Morgan said Monday in a research note.
J.P. Morgan Internet analyst Douglas Anmuth, who covers Amazon, is looking for 5 million units in the fourth quarter and expects to see multiple models in 2012, including 7 and 10-inch units and models with 3G radios in addition to Wi-Fi. The Kindle Fire goes on sale Nov. 15.
Another J.P. Morgan analyst initially dismissed claims that the Amazon could become the world’s No. 2 tablet-maker, calling it “noise.” He said he was “not impressed” with the Kindle Fire and said its price could ultimately be detrimental, indicating that it’s a less than full-featured tablet. Apple, by comparison, sold 11.1 million iPads during the most recent quarter ending Sept. 24.
But consumers may have other ideas. Pre-orders have been going very well, with one leaked sales report indicating 50,000 units per day, suggesting Amazon may be poised to hit some big numbers this holiday season. I thought that Amazon could have a big seller on its hands because the Fire; while not competitive with the iPad (s aapl) in many respects, it shines as a media consumption device with a price ($199) that seems very appealing to consumers. We’ll see how much Amazon can sell of the Fire though we might not get a firm answer on sales considering Amazon is silent on Kindle sales figures.