Reviewers May Find Faults, But Developers Say Kindle Fire Is Big Big Big

The Kindle Fire tablet may not be all reviewers’ cup of tea, but Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) seems to have gotten one thing just right: it’s picked up serious mindshare with developers.
According to a new survey out from IDC and Appcelerator, the new tablet — even before it got commercially released — zoomed right to the top of the pile when it comes to interest from developers making mobile apps. If that intent gets followed through, that should put Amazon into good standing with consumers who put a premium on content when weighing up what tablet they might buy.
The survey (a copy of which can be downloaded here), polled 2,160 developers in North America and the rest of the world earlier this month. It found that the Kindle Fire is now the most-interesting Android tablet for developers in North America, edging out the Samsung Galaxy Tab, with the Xoom trailing in third and the Nook tablet, launched last week, in fourth.
What’s also interesting — and underscores the threat to Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) of Amazon entering this market — is that the Kindle Fire is scoring nearly as well as the iPad did prior to its launch as a development platform in North America. The iPad remains the most-sought-after tablet platform at 88 percent. Before the iPad’s launch, some 53 percent of developers surveyed by IDC and Appcelerator said they would like to develop for the platform, compared to the Kindle Fire’s 49 percent.
And, as a measure of Amazon’s currency worldwide, that attention is extending outside of the U.S. — even though Amazon has yet to make any announcements about when the Fire will make its way to other shores. The survey found that in the rest of the world, the Fire has made its way to the number-two slot, with the Galaxy Tab (which is available worldwide) holding on to the top spot.

As you may have read from the reviews out today, many are highlighting some of the shortcomings of the pared-down Fire tablet, but one of the striking takeaways is that by and large, when you balance up the huge content offerings that Amazon itself is bringing, and then add in the low price, the prediction is that people will be flocking to the device.
Developers, it seems, have wizened up to this market tenet, too: they may not be able to include features in their apps that utilize a camera or geo-location, and yes, this tablet merely extends the problem of Android fragmentation — but none of this is not as important as pricing, it seems, which ranked, at 38 percent, as the highest factor in deciding that the Fire was a good target platform.
Now that the device is out and people are buying, it will be worth watching to see whether they follow through and make those apps.
Outside of measuring how well the Kindle is already doing with developers, the survey also revealed that iOS has remained the most popular platform of all with developers — showing that they do in the end value all those bells and whistles, too — and that Windows Phone and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) are gaining ground against RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) in the mindshare stakes.
Some 91 percent of developers are still looking to iOS, while BlackBerry OS has fallen by seven points to 21 percent; and QNX, RIM’s OS for the PlayBook tablet, has falled by six points to only 13 percent. Meanwhile, some 28 percent said they were “very interested” in developing for the Nokia Lumia — one of the first two devices that Nokia has unveiled that runs on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS.
Interestingly, despite Android taking such a large part of sales in smartphones today, it actually dropped in terms of its developer interest to 83 percent, a fall of four percentage points. Falls like that might indicate that despite how well Android devices are selling, consumers are not using them as much for apps as the devices leading the board, iOS-based iPhones and the iPad from Apple.