Along with Amazon’s big tablet announcements earlier today, it’s finally also unveiled the first markets to get the Kindle Fire tablets — both the new Kindle Fire and the HD version — outside of the U.S. The news first trickled out in a forum announcement on Amazon.co.uk, which also announced availability of the new Kindle e-reader.
This is announcement is more significant than Amazon finally answering questions of when it would launch these tablets internationally. It’s a sign that it is getting ready to turn the taps on full and really start getting some global scale to their device operation. The Kindle readers have already been a big hit in markets where they have launched, and so launching the tablets, at competitive price points, will be Amazon’s first crack at truly upsetting the global balance for the tablet market, which has basically been dominated by Apple and the iPad, with very little headway from any single Android-based tablet vendor. Until, possibly, now.
“Last year there were more than two dozen Android tablets launched into the marketplace, and nobody bought them,” CEO Jeff Bezos boasted earlier today in the presentation in Santa Monica.
The Kindle Fire — the new version with a faster processor and 16GB of memory — will sell for £129 ($200; in other words at a premium to the price in the U.S. — as a commenter points out below this includes 20% VAT sales tax and probably some leeway for currency fluctuations).
The HD model is the seven-inch version, so the smaller of the two unveiled today. The 16GB version will sell for £159 (another premium price of $253); the 32GB will sell for £199.
The new Kindle e-reader will sell for £69 ($109).
All are on pre-order.
Although a lot of people have been wondering when Amazon would finally get around to launching the Fire tablets outside the U.S., the first comment from a user, fairly enough, was: “Nothing about the Paper White [sic] then.”
The news comes after several weeks in which Amazon has gradually filled in details about its retail operation and other services in the UK. It will be partnering with Waterstones to sell the devices. The company already had Kindle retail partnerships with other companies, including the huge supermarket chain Tesco, which may also carry the Fire, although that has not yet been confirmed.
It also turned on the Appstore in recent days in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Given that Amazon’s Android apps marketplace is also now live in other European countries, it’s likely that the Kindle Fire tablets will also be going live in those markets soon — if not already.
Update 2: We asked an Amazon spokesperson about the Paperwhite Kindle: “Unfortunately, I’ll have to ask you to stay tuned on that,” is her response. So we may be seeing an appearance of that product at some point; still, no outright “no plans” response, nor a timeline.
Full announcement below.
Introducing the All-New Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD, plus the All-New Kindle e-reader
Kindle Fire – the Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games, and web browsing, and the #1 bestselling product on http://Amazon.com for the past year-is now available in the UK with a faster processor and twice the memory of the original Kindle Fire, at a breakthrough price of only £129.
Kindle Fire HD – all-new with a stunning custom HD display – offers the fastest Wi-Fi, exclusive Dolby audio with two stereo speakers, and a high performance processor and graphics engine for the most immersive HD experience available on a lightweight, portable 7″ tablet – all backed by Amazon.co.uk’s vast content ecosystem, the best cross-platform interoperability and the best customer service – for £159.
Select from Amazon’s vast collection of digital content with over 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books, and magazines.
We’ve also introduced a new version of the world’s best-selling e-reader – the all-new Kindle -still incredibly small and lightweight, but now with faster page turns, new fonts and parental controls -and at an even lower price point of only £69.
The Kindle Team