Think Amazon is serious about making a real dent in the tablet business? If today’s news is any indication, they’re gearing up for a big holiday season. About a week ahead of the scheduled November 20, ship date, Amazon has started shipping its Kindle Fire HD units now, placing them in some customers’ hands by the weekend. This puts it right on schedule with the iPad Mini with LTE.
While the Kindle does run Android at its core, Amazon has reworked it enough to make it a tablet of its own. Essentially, that makes it a standalone competitor during the holiday season. Microsoft has its Surface tablet, which has received many positive reviews, and Google has advanced the Android tablet game with the Nexus 10. All are full-sized tablets that compete directly with the iPad.
Getting the units to customers a week early could help boost short-term sales, which is exactly what Amazon needs for the holiday season. The sooner it gets into people’s hands the sooner they can get a feel for it. That leads to personal recommendations, which can boost sales at the back end of the season.
Of course, in order to win those back-end sales Amazon has to deliver the goods. Yet even if they do deliver to some users, others will remain unconvinced. The original Kindle Fire has sold just over 5 million units since its release a year ago, a number that the iPad Mini figures to top between now and the end of 2012. So despite actual quality level, the market is still heavily weighted towards Apple.
Still, that won’t stop Amazon from an aggressive marketing campaign. They’re now selling the Fire on their website, advertising that it will ship by December 3. That might seem far off, but considering backorders on other popular tablets it’s actually not a bad turnaround time.