Amid reports of consumer dissatisfaction with the Kindle Fire, Amazon Thursday said it has been selling its new tablet at a rate of 1 million a week for the last three weeks.
Based on initial sales, the online retailer is ramping up production.
Before the Amazon announcement, the tech industry and Wall Street analysts had projected the company would sell up to 5 million Kindle Fire units before year's-end. That estimate now appears to be on the low side.
Launched in mid-November, the Amazon tablet had recently come under a cloud following reports that customers were returning the device because of various deficiencies.
Well-known user experience expert Jakob Nielsen had also blasted the Kindle Fire in a recent review. In response to complaints, Amazon confirmed it will release a software update for the device in the next two weeks. The company said the upgrade would improve performance, touch navigation and give customers the ability to choose what items display on the carousel.
The Kindle Fire is already the second-most popular tablet behind the iPad, according to research firm IHS, which estimated Amazon will claim 13.8% of the market in the fourth quarter compared to Apple's commanding 65.6% share. IHS projected that Amazon will ship 3.9 million units during the quarter.
Macquarie Group analyst Ben Schachter reiterated its view that the Kindle Fire will enjoy mainstream success. "Despite a few high-profile negative press articles, we think that the attractive price point, the device functionality, and its associated services will continue to appeal to consumers. Given the early sales numbers, it is likely that our 5mm unit estimate for the quarter could ultimately prove conservative," he wrote in a research note Thursday.
He added that the firm expects Amazon to roll out the Kindle Fire internationally in the first quarter of 2012. Amazon’s stock was up about 1% Thursday to $182 per share after suffering a downturn in connection with the negative reports about Kindle's performance.