Kindle Fire in perspective

Amazon’s Kindle Fire sold 95,000 units in its first day of pre-orders, which pales next to the Ipad’s 300,000 on its first day. But the Kindle Fire looks to be a slower burn. It’s sold 250,000 units now. By comparison, the Ipad sold 1 million units in its first month, which the Kindle Fire hasn’t matched yet, but it’s only been five days. Some people are reporting it’s on pace to sell 2.5 million units in its first month. Realistically, I think the number should be lower–more on that in a second. But I think the naysayers should learn really fast that this war isn’t over.
So how many will it sell? Given that it’s sold 250,000 pre-orders, and 95,000 of those came on Day 1, it’s averaging 31,000 units per day on ordinary days. So I believe 1,025,000–31,000 x 30, plus 95,000–is a more realistic number. That’s slightly more than the original Ipad.

All summer I read stories about ice-cold demand for non-Ipad tablets. One could conclude that people just don’t want a tablet made by somebody other than Apple, or one can conclude that people just don’t want to pay an Apple price for something not made by Apple. That’s the conclusion I reached, because there are always going to be people who are unwilling or unable to pay $500-$600 for a tablet.

HP’s fire sale demonstrated that demand for something cheaper than an Ipad, even if that means it’s less capable. And now the Kindle Fire is forcing other competitors to finally lower their prices, so the ice-cold market for non-Ipad tablets could finally heat up, now that someone has forced the issue. The Kindle Fire has already exceeded the Motorola Xoom and the RIM Playbook’s first-month sales figures.

The Kindle Fire has been the butt of some jokes, including an SNL bit that said it would prove popular with parents who always buy the wrong thing. I think it’s way too premature to say that.

To me, the more interesting thing is what happens to the sales come mid-November, once the tablet actually ships. Hundreds of thousands of people–and, likely, a million-plus before it’s all over–bought the device sight unseen. Once people can actually see the tablet, and spend a little time using a friend’s tablet, then we’ll have sales figures to examine that actually mean something.

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