The Fire has officially burned out. Amazon announced today that its entire Kindle Fire stock has been depleted after a successful nine month-run that the company touts as "the most successful product launch in the history of Amazon.com." In fact, the company claims the Kindle Fire has seized a sizeable 22 percent chunk of the U.S. tablet market ahead of the widely anticipated launch of a second-generation Fire.
But has it really? If Amazon's claims are true that means that roughly one out of every five tablets sold is a Kindle Fire. Unfortunately, Amazon has refused to release any actual sales figures for its low-cost tablet, making it difficult to perform any actual comparisons. Some third-party evidence suggests that Amazon may be in the ballpark with its figures, though that 22 percent number is probably a bit lofty.
An April report by comScore claimed that the Kindle Fire accounted for a 54.4 percent share of the U.S. tablet market, while IDC released a report just this month that pegged Amazon as the third-largest supplier of tablets in the world, moving 1,252,000 Kindle Fire tablets in the second quarter of the year. "But wait," you say, "Those are global numbers!" Indeed, but the Kindle Fire is available exclusively to U.S. residents.
This isn't a direct Apple-to-oranges comparison -- again, it would be great if Amazon released some hard figures -- but since the IDC says that the iPad accounts for around 60 percent of all tablet sales, if the Kindle Fire truly holds half of the U.S. Android market, it could actually have around a 20 percent stake in the U.S. tablet market. Of course, comScore's data is from April, and the release of several attractive low-cost tablet options -- such as Google's $200 Nexus 7 -- very likely dragged down the Kindle Fire's lead in the past few months.
Sorting through statistics is moot in any case. The only number that matters is 0 -- the number of Kindle Fire tablets Amazon still has in stock. Don't expect the shelves to stay barren for long, however; while Amazon failed to say when new units will show up online, the company has a September 6th event planned where it is widely expected to announce the Kindle Fire 2 and maybe a 10-inch model.