Kindle Fire HD is going international. Kindle Fire HD is available for pre-order in a massive 170 countries.
Amazon expanding to 170 countries is very impressive. Kindle Fire HD was only available in US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Spain, and Italy. Going international to 170 countries should do a lot for Kindle Fire HD sales and should increase the chance Amazon can keep competing with iPad and with Android Tablets.
TechCrunch had the news on Kindle Fire HD International. The key details are –
- Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ will be available in 170 countries on June 13th.
- Preorders for Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ are open today.
- Kindle Fire HD International will be $214 – converted to local currency.
- Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ International will be $284 – again, converted to local currency.
- Kindle Fire App Store (Amazon App Store) will be available in 200 countries.
- Kindle Fire App Store will have following two games free today and tomorrow – Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope: Experiments. Update: It seems these are free only in countries the App Store is expanding to.
You can buy Kindle Fire HD at Amazon.
You can see all the details in the Kindle Fire HD International Press Release.
Why Kindle Fire HD International Expansion is critical to Amazon’s Hopes
Amazon is in a tough spot.
- Kindle Fire HD did well last Holiday season and is showing life. However, it still trails iPad and iPad Mini sales by a lot.
- iPad Mini is eating into the 7″ Tablet Market. A new iPad Mini, perhaps with Retina Display, might arrive this year.
- iPad Mini and iPad have much better economies of scale.
- Android Tablets keep improving. There are rumors of a new Google Nexus 7 2 with Retina level display.
- If Amazon doesn’t expand fast, and increase sales fast, then the conversation will become iPad vs Android (perhaps even iPad vs Samsung Tablets).
- If Amazon doesn’t sell more, and get economies of scale going, then iPad and Nexus 7 will be able to destroy it on Value for Money. They already have massive App Stores and Amazon is playing catch-up there. If Amazon can’t keep prices competitive (i.e. lower) then it’ll lose the Tablet Wars.
- A lot of Amazon’s plans of transitioning from selling CDs, DVDs, paper books to selling Digital Content depend on it controlling the channel to customers. If it doesn’t, then it’ll exist at the mercy of other Ecosystems.
Kindle Fire HD isn’t just a Tablet, and winning the Tablet Wars for Amazon isn’t just about being the best-selling Tablet. Kindle Fire HD is Amazon’s storefront of the future. If Amazon loses the Tablet Wars, it’ll eventually lose the ‘selling digital content’ wars.
How will Kindle Fire HD International do?
Amazon’s move is interesting and the pricing is even more interesting.
- iPad Mini and Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab have much larger App Stores. Amazon is carefully building up its App Store, but it’s still far behind. This move will help develop the App Store in the long run. Why? It’ll add more Kindle Fire HD owners. That will give developers more incentive to make apps for Kindle Fire HD. However, as of today, Amazon is at a disadvantage when it comes to App Store range and choice and size.
- Apple and Google have much stronger brands worldwide. Amazon is strong in some countries like US, UK, Canada, and perhaps 5-6 more. However, it has very little presence beyond the 8-10 countries where it has subsidiaries.
- The price of $214 for the Kindle Fire HD is not compelling. It was different with the eInk Kindle as there were very few other established eReader companies. There are lots of Tablet giants like Apple, Samsung, and Google. They can easily compete with a $214 Kindle Fire HD International.
- It’s interesting that Amazon is pushing the ‘Kindle Fire is a Service’ concept. Amazon mentions in the Kindle Fire HD International Press Release that ‘Kindle is a service, and not just a device’. How strong is the service outside the US and UK? Do these new countries have things like Amazon Prime and Amazon Instant Video?
- The HD Display and the Speakers are two big strengths. However, Samsung keeps churning out Tablets, a new iPad Mini might arrive this year, and Google’s Nexus 7 2 is rumored to have a much better display. What happens then? Will Kindle Fire HD be attractive? Is it attractive now? What reason would a user in Swaziland have for choosing a $214 Kindle Fire HD over a $329 iPad Mini or a $229 Nexus 7?
- Perhaps Amazon has a lot of stock and wants to expand sales worldwide to sell stock? Perhaps Amazon feels expanding worldwide is necessary for hitting economies of scale? Perhaps Amazon was forced into Kindle Fire HD international expansion sooner than it would like. The way all of this is set up is very strange – a sudden announcement, a price of $214, no grand strategy, using a Kindle Fire HD from 6-7 months ago.
- Amazon seems to be using its standard ‘Preorders in advance’ trick. It likes to announce a product a month or so in advance. This allows it to gauge demand and adjust production accordingly.
I honestly don’t know how Kindle Fire HD will do. I wasn’t expecting it to be the #2 Tablet in Holiday Season 2012. It might very well end up being the #2 Tablet after iPad Mini worldwide. The only thing is, worldwide is a different kettle of fish. In the US, Amazon has a huge share of online retail sales. During Holiday Season it can really leverage its traffic and push Kindle Fire sales. It also has so many customers in the US – customers that trust it. Worldwide, Amazon doesn’t have the same advantages.
It’ll be really good if Kindle Fire HD International takes off. It’s the scrappy little fighters like Nook Color that start off trends. If Kindle Fire HD International takes off, then it pushes Apple and Google and Samsung to improve their Tablets. Additionally, Amazon’s policy of ‘price low, make money from services’ forces other Tablet makers to price their own tablets lower. Let’s hope Kindle Fire HD International is a hit, and it allows Amazon to scale up and continue to chase iPad Mini and Samsung Tab and Google Nexus 7. That’ll force the entire Tablet Market to improve and innovate. Better for all of us.