Kindle Fire sales were on fire last quarter, analyst says

Barclays analyst Anthony DiClemente says Amazon could have sold as many as 5.5 million Kindle Fire tablets last quarter, up from the 4.5 million he initially forecast.

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Don Reisinger
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Amazon Kindle Fire sales are strong.
Amazon Kindle Fire sales are strong. Amazon

Amazon Kindle Fire sales were stronger than expected last quarter, one analyst claims.

According to Barclays analyst Anthony DiClemente, 5.5 million Kindle Fire units were sold last quarter, up from his initial estimate of 4.5 million units. All Things Digital, which obtained DiClemente's estimate, was the first to report on the sales figures.

Speculation abounds over how many Kindle Fires Amazon has sold. However, the only stakeholder who knows--Amazon--has so far been unwilling to divulge sales figures. In fact, Amazon would only say last month that it sold more than 1 million Kindles in December, failing to provide concrete data or break that figure out by device.

Of course, that hasn't stopped companies from speculating. Aside from the Barclays estimate, IHS iSuppli said recently that it believes Amazon shipped 3.9 million Kindle Fire tablets during the fourth quarter of 2011. Back in November, NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim said he believed as many as 6 million Kindle Fires could ship during the last three months of 2011.

As the Kindle Fire's sales surged, some analysts believe Apple's iPad was negatively affected. In fact, just last week Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt said that he had revised iPad estimates for the fourth quarter down from 16 million to 13 million, due to stronger demand for the Kindle Fire, adding that Amazon's tablet took away "maybe 1 [million to] 2 million" iPad sales.

The Kindle Fire's success has been due mainly to its $199 price. Apple's iPad 2, meanwhile, starts at $499, making it a bigger investment for consumers hoping to break into the tablet space. That said, for the extra cash, they're getting much more, including a larger screen, more storage, and 3G connectivity.

Even so, the Kindle Fire is no slouch. The device comes with a dual-core processor, solid screen, and integration with Amazon's many services.

Amazon did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on DiClemente's claims.