Kindle Fire Claims More Than Half Android Tablet Market

Kindle-FireAmazon’s Kindle Fire now accounts for more than half of Android-powered tablets in the U.S., according to new data from comScore. Between December and February, the device nearly doubled its share among Android tablets from 29.4% to 54.4%. That’s more than three times the share of its nearest rival using the Google platform, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, with 15.4%.

Rounding out the top five Android tablets as of February: Motorola Xoom (7%), the Asus Transformer (6.3%) and the Toshiba AT 100 (5.7%). comScore released the findings in relation to rolling out the latest version of its Device Esstentials service, offering measurement across computers, smartphones, tablets, e-readers and gaming devices.

The data underscores how quickly the $199 Amazon tablet has gained traction since its November launch. While the online retail giant hasn’t specified how many units have been sold so far, analysts have estimated the company moved about 5 million in the fourth quarter.

IDC estimated the device claimed almost 17% of the tablet market at the end of 2012, second only to the iPad. 

The 7-inch Kindle Fire’s low price has proven an advantage against Android competitors like the 7- to 12-inch Galaxy Tab, retailing for $500 and up. In the latest tablet ratings from Consumer Reports, the Galaxy Tab models scored higher than the Kindle Fire, but the magazine dubbed it a “Best Buy,” pointing out its convenient online access to digital content through Amazon.

Even so, the comScore research released Thursday indicated that larger-screen tablets deliver increased levels of media use. For example, 10″ tablets in February on average generated 125 views per device, translating into a 39% higher consumption rate than 7″ tablets, and a 58% higher rate than 5″ models.

“Although many factors -- such as demographics, content availability, connection speed and ease of portability -- may influence consumption levels, the results of this analysis highlight important questions for the industry as the tablet space develops,” stated the comScore study.

The firm also broke out the four major wireless carrier’s share of the smartphone market across the five largest states--California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas -- to highlight geographic differences. AT&T accounted for the largest share of unique smartphones in Texas (46.2%), California (42.9%) and Illinois (42.1%), while Verizon claimed the top spot in New York (43.6%) and Florida (36.5%).

Sprint ranked third in each of the five top markets, and T-Mobile -- the only carrier among the four biggest that doesn’t sell the iPhone -- was last in each state.

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