Amazon isn’t keen on divulging sales data for its device. This has been true since their venture into hardware with the original Kindle e-reader’s release a little over four years ago. As a result, sales comparison is quite thankless, but not impossible. As most tech companies commission Asian manufacturers to build their gadgets, supply chain leaks can provide a reasonably accurate guesstimate in terms of units shipped to the channel (which can still differ greatly from the number of units sold to consumers and incur high costs related to unsold inventory, as seen in RIM’s example).

Now, according to DigiTimes, an Asian trade publication, Quanta Computer has already shipped between three and four million units of the seven-inch Kindle Fire tablet to Amazon. The online retailer has commissioned Quanta to assemble the gadget. The $199 Android tablet began shipping sixteen days ago following the September 28 introduction. Quanta is estimated to ship up to five million Kindle Fire units by January 2012.

The sources said Amazon has continued to increase its orders for Kindle Fire and aims to see total OEM Kindle Fire shipments reach five million units by the end of December or early January.

If all goes well and sell-through is high enough, Amazon should have no trouble reaching an installed base of five million Kindle Fire users by the year’s end. And considering the tablets prominent placement on, Amazon’s brand, powerful marketing and ecosystem as well as its penchant for gradually reducing prices (even though they sell the gizmo at a loss), the Fire could easily remain the second most-used tablet throughout 2012.

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