Kindle Fire HD spreads to over 170 countries, bringing uncertainty for other Android tablets

Kindle Fire HD spreads to over 170 countries, bringing uncertainty for other Android tablets

Summary: The Kindle Fire represents a real threat to the Android tablet landscape not because of the Amazon logo, but because of its highly disruptive pricing.

(Source: Amazon)

Amazon has announced that it is to offer its 7-inch and 8.9-inch Android-powered Kindle Fire HD tablets to customers to pre-order in over 170 additional countries, with the tablets shipping June 13.

The biggest online retailer has also expanded its app store to over 200 countries, allowing Kindle Fire owners to choose from tens of thousands of popular Android apps.

The Kindle Fire HD hardware is unchanged from the model currently shipping in the US and certain European countries. The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD comes with a 1920x1200 1080p HD display with in-plane switching, Advanced True Wide polarizing filter. The 254 pixels per inch, Amazon says, are "indistinguishable to the human eye" – in other words, it's a retina display. The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD features a 1280x800 screen resolution. 

Both screen sizes feature 10-point multi-touch support.

The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD is powered by the latest generation dual-core 1.5GHz OMAP4 4470 processor with an on-board Imagination SGX544 graphics engine that's capable of over 12 billion floating point operations per second – or 50 percent more than Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor.

The processor in the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is a dual-core OMAP4 4460 1.2GHz processor.

The Kindle Fire represents a real threat to the Android tablet landscape not because of the Amazon logo, or even the hardware spec, but because of its highly disruptive pricing. The 7-inch variant costs $214, while its 8.9-inch big brother is only $284. 

Amazon's goal was to put together a quality Android tablet at an eye-catching price, and it accomplished this with the Kindle Fire HD hardware. Its price is refreshingly accessible when compared to Apple's iPad, and even other Android tablet offerings. The only tablet to come close to the Kindle Fire HD family is Google's own Nexus 7 and 10 tablets.

Despite the Kindle Fire HD being an Android tablet, it's rather different from most Android tablets on the market. As opposed to being a one-stop-shop for Google services, the Kindle Fire HD runs a heavily customized forked version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.4) that's been turned into a portal for all things Amazon. Even compared to newer tablets running Android "Jelly Bean," the Kindle Fire HD's custom operating system looks and feels – to me at any rate – like a better tablet OS.

There's no doubt that this expansion in availability of the Kindle Fire HD will give Android a boost, even if it is Amazon's vision of how Android should be.

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Android, Tablets

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  • Kindle Fire

    The Kindle Fire tablets are a channel for consuming Amazon's products and services. Other Android tablets are free. Kindle Fire are offered as a low price the same Gillette sells their razor and make you buy their blades. It's all about the value you give for Amazon's products and services.
    • Other Android tablets are free?

      Exactly what does that mean?
      As far as the hardware being a channel for services.
      Isn't that what everyone does these days?
      • free as.. of any attachement
        • Comfortable

          I really my 8.9" Kindle. I bought it for a reader. The adds are non intrusive and intelegently targeted. The offerings are greater than the stores and I have come to hate stores. Stores also take a lot more time. I find I do much of my shopping on Amazon now spending a few hundred per month. With prime, no shipping charges really make it very cost effective.
    • Actually

      It's all about the users that see value in the limited amazon offering as sufficient for their needs. Outside of the richer western states, value for money is more important. Those markets don't see the popularity for over-priced istuff that rely heavily on the cool-factor to achieve sales.
      Little Old Man
      • I'm not seeing Amazon's Kindle Fire HD as limited even without being...

        a Prime member. I can read my college class books through VitalSource Bookshelf's 3rd party app (IE I'm not limited to Amazon's app store), I've gotten over $100 worth of free and many useful apps through Amazon's free app of the day (including a $10 calculator app that has been useful), and the web browsing on it works great.

        In addition, I can read all of my Kindle books and upload any document as a PDF such as class notes or convert them to books with calibre. Youtube videos look spectacular on it and Pandora works like a champ while I read. Amazon continually offers books on sale that I find interesting and worth the read and I only read nonfiction books.

        Plus, there have been several free apps including "free app of the day," which has proven useful for my 2 year old son. It gives him something to play and learn on when we go out to a restaurant or similar.

        I canceled my Prime account because I was spending way too much money through Amazon instead of purchasing local. :)

        Sure some apps run a lil sluggish - ie, hard to doodle, but for my needs the 7" Kindle Fire HD does a great job and was well worth the $200 investment. If I purchased a Nexus, I'd probably load Amazon's Kindle OS on it.

        I also own an iPhone 4S and my son plays on my old 3GS.
  • Amazon walled garden/virtual shopping cart/tablet?

    No Thanks.

    I love my Nexus 7 and will use it as I please. I can easily visit or .com whenever I want.
  • $244 for the 32GB model...

    ... better to just spend that on a 32GB Nexus 7 IMO :p
  • Kindle Fire HD Is a Great Tablet

    I've owned an iPad 3 since it came out and bought my wife the 7-inch Fire HD for her birthday yesterday, and it really is a quality device. I actually feel a bit taken on my iPad purchase, considering it was more than 2x the price (of course, my iPad is the full-size version, so that's not the best comparison). Next tablet purchase will be the next-gen Surface when it comes out (I'm not keen to spend $500+ on a v1 device, personally).
  • An ad

    I hope Amazon paid ZDNet for this blatant advertisement.
    • The OS

      I have to agree. This is a "spamarticle". If nothing else the statement quoted below is laughable, though it is lauded as a selling point:

      "Even compared to newer tablets running Android "Jelly Bean," the Kindle Fire HD's custom operating system looks and feels – to me at any rate – like a better tablet OS."

      Better than what?

      Nexus 7 with latest Android OS auto-updated? Is he serious?

      If you want Amazon on your Nexus 7 just add the app (I have Amazon Store and Kindle apps on mine).

      What I don't have is Amazon in my face every time I boot my tablet.
  • E_Reader Converts

    So amazon is getting into the E_Reader convert game as Barns&Nobles did, well E_Readers that where like your dads Chevy getting 20 miles to the gallon will be software converted to a full android OS tablet. From Chevy V6 to a NASCAR V8 that gets only 1 mile per gallon (battery life) GET ready to go “Oh MY GOSH” it needs recharging again!!! The NOOK HD and HD +(Plus) did it , they work as advertised, you do get a sweet new tablet from your E_Reader but the battery was designed for reading simple text not full blown 20 apps running in the background Android Web Machine. So all things being the same (almost) I like the NOOK HD+ far over the KINDLE (the nook convert comes with the kindle reading app-sweet yes)
    The NOOK HD+ is $179.00 the KINDLE Fire HD is $284.00 why pay over $100.00 more for this Reader Convert? This infomercial could have been so much more than the weak Amime ad it turned into.
    • Nook discontinued.

      The Nook was just discontinued.
  • It Didn't Seem To Bring Much "Uncertainty" To The US...

    ...why should it have better luck elsewhere?
  • Downloading Apps

    I have a Kindle Fire, not the HD model. Several times, I have run across Android apps I wanted to download, but they were only available on Google's web site. Google does not allow a Kindle to download its apps. For this reason alone, I am strongly considering not buying another Kindle. I wish Amazon and/or Google would fix this. Another thing I don't like about the Kindle is that Amazon doesn't send out firmware updates. Still another problem is that the Kindle cannot be opened. The battery is inaccessible, sealed into the unit and cannot be replaced.
  • Newspapers and magazines

    Concerning downloadable magazines and other periodicals: You cannot download a magazine or newspaper to a Kindle for PC program or Kindle app for Android. You must have an actual Kindle tablet to download and read magazines and newspapers.
  • What about the content?

    The Kindle Fire HD tablets are content consumption devices, and they are locked in to Amazon's proprietary app-store ecosystem. This makes the device pretty well useless in the 160 odd countries that Amazon doesn't have the digital rights to distribute the apps, videos and music to. - These devices are not the best choice (amongst Amazon devices) for e-Reader usage, with their back-lit non-Paperwhite/E-ink screens, so I hope that Amazon get the agreements required in place so that they can sell content other than e-books to customers outside of the US and a handful of other countries.