Android Tablet Sales Figures Questioned Amidst Amazon Kindle Fire Boon

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan estimated that Amazon sold six million Kindle Fires in the fourth quarter, but during yesterday’s earnings’ call, Amazon’s top executives did not clarify how many units they actually sold, or even how much profit they gained because of the tablet.  At $199, Amazon spends more in making the Kindle Fire than selling it, but hopes that the money saved by consumers who bought the tablet would be spent in their store.  Amazon’s fourth- quarter revenue was at $17.4 billion, less than the $18.3 billion estimated by analysts, and the company’s net income fell 57% to $177 million, or 38 cents a share, from the previous year’s $416 million, or 91 cents.

Android and iOS products have been compared not only in features and performance, but most of all in sales.  With the Android platform available for any OEM to use, there are hoards of Android tablets from different brands wandering the market.  With that in mind, it’s so easy to believe that more people are buying Android tablets than iPads, but is this really true?

Iffy Android numbers?

Galen Gruman of InfoWorld pointed out how Android numbers are misleading.  First off, OEMs using the Android platform aren’t really revealing the their true sales number, what most of them reveal are the numbers of units shipped, and this doesn’t mean they were sold.  Second, if the tablets are not sold, retail stores ship the unsold devices back to where they came from and no one really looks at the return number or the number of devices returned to the manufacturers.  And third, if there really are more Android tablets than iPads, then why is it that 88% of web traffic generated by tablets are from iPads?  Are Android tablet users not using their devices to browse the web?  Think about it.

RIM takes on Android

Do you remember when Microsoft’s Senior Director of Windows Phone 7 Brandon Watson, offered free phones, dev tools, and training and other resources to webOS developers, encouraging them to jump ship?  Research in Motion is doing the same thing to Android app developers, except they don’t offer freebies, just the privilege of porting their apps to the BlackBerry PlayBook in time for the launch of the OS 2.0 in February.

The BlackBerry Runtime for Android apps allows the Android applications to run on the BlackBerry PlayBook, but these apps must first be repackaged into the compatible BAR file format.  App developers can choose from the Eclipse Plugin -BlackBerry Plugin for Android Development Tools, Online Tool – BlackBerry Packager for Android apps, and the Command-line tools – BlackBerry SDK for Android apps.  And of course, you have to remove anything that pertains to Android and the Android Market in the app description or elsewhere before it gets published, and you have to submit it before February 6.

Microsoft tablets have a shot

ARM, the UK-based chipmaker, reported some outstanding results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2011, and they have the high demand for mobile devices to thank for their recent upswing.  ARM chips are the number one choice for mobile devices by manufacturers, since they use up less energy compared to Intel chips.  But Intel isn’t happy about ARM’s lead in the mobile sector, as they want to dominate the mobile plane as well.  To that end, they launched the Lenovo K800 smartphone powered by Intel at the CES 2012.  But it looks like these two chipmakers would be working closely together on an Android tablet competitor – a Windows 8 tablet with both ARM and Intel chips.

ARM’s CEO Warren East discusses the great potential of Windows 8 tablet stating that the familiarity of users to Windows would be its leverage.

“Consumers are familiar with Microsoft and very familiar with Windows and they’re less familiar with an Android environment. Microsoft has an awareness advantage with consumers that the Android folks didn’t have,” East said.