Amazon Fire Tablet heads to China with Baidu apps and services

Missing support for Google apps and services isn't a problem in China, as Amazon is partnering with Baidu for search, software and online videos for the Fire Tablet.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Often viewed as a disadvantage, Amazon's lack of Google apps and services on its Fire Tablet may be actually be a strength: In China.

The company announced that the Fire Tablet is now available in the world's most populous nation for $499 Yuan (US $78) and comes with a new partner. Baidu will provide search, apps and online video in a country where Google is generally not welcome.

Amazon says Fire Tablet is its fastest selling tablet ever, although it hasn't provided sales figures for the slates. We can't compare how well it's doing against the iPad or other Android tablets, as a result.

However, the low cost tablet could be more appealing in China than other slates running Android, thanks to the Baidu partnership.

Amazon currently sells a range of Fire Tablets with different price points, sizes and screen resolutions. The lowest priced model now starts at $49.99 while the high-end Fire HDX 8.9 begins with a $429.99 cost.

All of them run on Amazon's Fire OS, built on the freely available open-source version of Android. Amazon then adds its own user interface, apps, the Silk browser and other Amazon services.

By introducing the Fire Tablet to China, the company stands to gain revenues from both hardware sales as well as those from apps and services: Amazon earns a portion of digital sales through its website, Kindle bookstore and video offerings.

It's too early to say if the Fire Tablet will be a hit in China but Apple has made gains there of late while Google is still working to get its own Android apps and services back into the country.

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