The Kindle Fire is still a hot commodity among tablet buyers, according to new data from ad network Chitika.
Measuring the amount of online activity through impressions on its ad network, Chitika found that the Fire jumped in use even after a strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Earlier data had indicated a slowdown for Amazon's tablet after November 26. But the latest stats show online activity for the Fire at a record high, a trend that Chitika doesn't believe will slow down.
Specifically, the network discovered a dramatic surge in Fire activity from the end of November and carrying through at least until December 6. Those findings follow the huge jump in sales estimated by other sources.
From the initial sales launch up to December 1, Amazon may have sold as many as 850,000 Kindle Fires just from its own Web site, according to market researcher eDataSource. Counting all of the other retail channels, sales could have hit as high as 2 million.
IHS iSuppli expects Amazon to ship a total of 3.9 million Fires over the fourth quarter, giving it 13.8 percent of the tablet market, still behind Apple's 65.6 percent share but way ahead of Samsung's 4.8 percent slice.
Some analysts and reviewers have criticized the Kindle Fire as being light on features and functionality. J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz doesn't see the current version of the tablet as a long-term competitor. Even Chitika called it an "more of an e-reader+" in its initial analysis. But the $199 price tag is clearly proving too tempting for cost-conscious consumers.
The Fire isn't the only tablet making merry for the holidays.
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has also enjoyed a healthy boost in online activity over the past couple of weeks, according to Chitika's data.
Thanks to RIM's recent price drops, the PlayBook has staged a significant recovery in sales. Best Buy easily sold out of the tablet during its first weekend of lower prices. Retailers such as Newegg also quickly ran out of the product, especially the 16GB PlayBook with its price chopped to $199.
RIM is still stuck with a large number of unsold PlayBooks in its inventory, but Chitika believes the company's price promotion has given its tablet a chance at some happy holidays in the highly competitive tablet market.