Android tablets have nearly caught up to iPad devices as the world’s most popular tablet platform, and some project that they may even overtake iPads later this year. According to new research from app analytics company Localytics, the U.S., and specifically Amazon, should take the most credit for that trend: some 59% of all Android tablet usage came from the U.S., with over half of that attributed to Kinde Fire and Fire HD tablets, working out to a 33% share.
The numbers are based on usage of apps with Localytics analysis and marketing data installed on them. Localytics says that in total there are 500 million+ unique devices running that software.
The U.S. is Amazon’s first and main market for the Kindle Fire, with Amazon only rolling out the tablets to other markets towards the end of 2012, around a year after launching in the U.S. Some 89% of Amazon’s tablets “live in America, with most of the rest in Great Britain,” writes Localytics’ Daniel Ruby. “After those two, no other country has even one percent of worldwide Kindle Fires.”
Localytics notes that if Amazon manages to work out its international distribution, then “their U.S. success suggests they could quickly dominate the Android tablet market worldwide.” Indeed, Amazon has stolen a march on traditional competitors like Barnes & Noble, whose Android-based Nook has only 10% of the market in the U.S., and even less than Amazon outside of there.
But today, Amazon is far from a global player with the Fire. In the rest of the world, the Android tablet game is Samsung’s to lose. Ruby tells me that the Korean device maker’s Galaxy line accounts for 76% of all Android tablet usage. Nexus 7 came in second at 15%, and Kindle Fire’s global share shrunk down to just 9%.
Because the Fire is built on a “forked” version of Android, the Google Play app storefront doesn’t appear on it: and that spells an opportunity for Amazon in its push to offer more cloud-based services to developers — something it is doing more by extending payment services and possibly adding in the ability to incorporate a voice API for voice recognition services.
Figures from ABI Research in November 2012 noted that in the last quarter, iPad devices accounted for 55% of sales, while Android tablets accounted for 44%.