IHS iSuppli says the Amazon Kindle is "already shaking up the market"-- predicting the Amazon tablet will beat the competition to take 2nd place in the global Q4 2011 tablet market.
The iPad, of course, will remain firmly entrenched in 1st place.
The analyst estimates Amazon will ship 3.9M Kindle Fire tablets in Q4 2011, taking over 13.8% of global tablet shipments. The total exceeds Samsung (1.8M units with 4.8% share) and is only 2nd to Apple (18.6M units with 65.6% share).
The Kindle Fire totals also contribute to a 7.7% increase in iSuppli 2011 tablet shipment estimates-- the analyst now predicts 2011 tablet shipments will reach 64.7M (up from August 2011 forecasts of 60M), with Y-o-Y growth reaching 273%.
The analyst also expects shipments will reach 287.2M by 2015.
Ultimately the ace up Amazon's retail sleeve is "rock bottom" pricing-- at $199, the Kindle Fire costs less than it the $201.70 iSuppli estimates the tablet costs to make. According to the analyst, Amazon plans to use the Kindle Fire to boost physical good sales, allowing the company to afford making a loss on hardware-- something the rest of the Android-based competition cannot.
After all Amazon offers Kindle Fire customers free one-month membership to Amazon Prime, with free movie and TV show access, the Kindle ebook lending library and (crucially) free 2-day shipping on physical goods.
Will Apple strike back at the Amazon attack? Some analysts speculate Apple will launch a lower-cost iPad version-- but more realistically, Apple could simply reduce iPad 2 prices with the inevitable iPad 3 launch, just as it did with the iPhone 4 launch last year.