Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the second most popular tablet after the iPad and will ship 3.9 million units in the last quarter of this year, projects research firm iHS iSuppli.
The Kindle Fire will hold a 13.8 percent market share for media tablets globally, according to IHS, compared to the iPad’s estimated 65.6 percent market share. The company estimates that iPad’s market share was 69.7 percent in the third quarter of this year, suggesting that the Kindle Fire has barely cut into iPad sales. Rather, the $199 Fire “will help fuel the expansion of the entire market” and will “appeal to a brand-new set of media tablet buyers.”
Overall, a new set of media tablet buyers also means a new possible audience for Apple (NSDQ: AAPL). Apple will cut the price of the iPad 2 when it releases the iPad 3, IHS believes, rather than releasing some sort of new bargain iPad.
IHS sees Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet far behind the Kindle Fire, with an estimated market share of 4.7 percent. The Nook Tablet is listed as the fourth most popular tablet after Apple, Kindle Fire and Samsung.
The IHS estimate is in the middle of others released in recent months. About a month before the Kindle Fire’s release, Forrester estimated it would sell between three and five million units this quarter if it was priced below $300–which, of course, it is.
Will the Fire hit these estimates? We may never know for sure, since Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) doesn’t release sales numbers. But, as CNET points out, we may see some data when non-Amazon retailers that sell the Kindle Fire, such as Best Buy, release their earnings reports.