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How many Kindle Fires did Amazon sell? 5M, maybe

The retail giant says the Fire captured 22 percent of all tablet sales during its lifetime. Asymco's Horace Dediu puts a hard number to that percentage.

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Amazon may have sold close to 5 million Kindle Fire tablet since the device debuted late last year.

At least, that's the number estimated by Asymco analyst Horace Dediu based on Amazon's own claims.

The retail company said yesterday that the Fire accounted for 22 percent of all tablet sales in the United States over the past nine months. Assuming that number is accurate, here's how Dediu arrived at total sales of 5 million.

Based on testimony from Apple and Samsung at their recent patent trial, the iPad racked up unit sales of 16.14 million from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012. Samsung's Galaxy Tab grabbed sales of 540,000 over the same period. That adds up to around 16.7 million units.

Factoring in 1 million or so units for other makes and models, Dediu estimates total U.S. tablet sales of approximately 22.7 million units over the nine months ended June. Subtracting the 22 percent touted by Amazon leads to a number a bit higher than 4.9 million.

Of course, that number is based on Amazon's claim of a 22 percent share for the Fire. CNET contacted the company yesterday to ask how this number was derived, but Amazon has yet to respond.

Amazon is expected to unveil the Kindle Fire 2 at a launch event on September 6.