Kindle, Nook Success: iPad Indifferent, Android Tablets Hurting

Last year’s sudden surge in popularity of affordably-priced media tablets like Kindle Fire (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Nook Tablet didn’t faze Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad sales, but it was a bit of drag for Android (NASDAQ:GOOG) tablets.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) together sold approximately 7.5 million media tablets in 2011, grabbing 11 percent of the total tablet market, GigaOM said, citing an iHS report.

Last year, the launch of Apple’s new iPad 2 helped the company sell a total of 40.4 million units, accounting for a whopping 62 percent of all tablets sold. True, that number has slipped from the 87 percent tablet share held in 2010, but Android tablets certainly didn’t have much to do with the shift. Samsung sold 6.1 million tablets last year to take a paltry 9 percent of the market, and Asus saw its sales plummet an abysmal 24 percent between the third and final quarter of 2011, according to GigaOM.

Given the iPad’s excellent apps and media content ecosystem, and with a new model expected to roll out next month, it seems likely that the popularity of the device will continue to grow. Kindle and Nook have modified user interfaces built on Android smartphone software, but they trump true Android tablets because they — like the iPad: — have strong content ecosystems, GigaOM said.

Because of the gap in pricing — $199 to $299 for Kindle and Nook versus about $499 for iPad — it’s unlikely that sales of Kindle and Nook have much effect on the iPad market. However, traditional Android tablets feel the squeeze.

Hornbeck Offshore Services

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