There’s no question Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the hottest-selling tablet not named iPad, but just how many of the new Android tablets the online retail giant has sold since it’s debut in November remains something of the mystery.
Amazon has said it's sold millions of Kindle Fire tablets but hasn’t been more specific. But now Stifel Nocolas’ analyst Jordan Rohan said in a report to clients late Sunday, reported by AllThingsD, that he believes Amazon sold six million Kindle Fires in the fourth quarter of 2011, a number that signifcantly bumped his earlier estimate of 5 million for the quarter.
“Kindle Fire has staked out an important market position due to its loyal Amazon customer base and attractive (low) device pricing,” Rohan said in his note to clients. “We believe the lower hardware price will correlate with high e-book and video content attach rates.
Earlier reports, including teardown analysis of the device, said that Amazon is actually selling the $199 Kindle Fire at a loss on the actual unit sale. But these same reports say it's all part of a broader strategy Amazon has to make money on sale of apps and digital content, which the Kindle Fire has been specially designed to facilitate.
“From a cost perspective, the shift to digital delivery of content could help Amazon avoid costly free shipping subsidies,” said Rohan. “Hence, we believe there is a great deal more to the Kindle device strategy than most have discounted.”