Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablets to go on sale in 170 countries on June 13

The launch will help Amazon.com pull away from Google in the tablet race, according to an analyst

Amazon.com is expanding the distribution of its tablets in a big way with the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9 now available for preorder in over 170 countries, and its Appstore open in nearly 200 countries.

The Kindle Fire HD has been the best-selling item for Amazon since it was launched, and Amazon is now hoping to copy that success around the world. The tablets are available for preorder on Amazon.com from US$214 and $284 respectively, and will start shipping on June 13.

The 8.9-inch display on the larger Kindle Fire HD has 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution, while the resolution on the smaller 7-inch model is 1280 x 800 pixels. Both models have either 16GB or 32GB of storage.

Amazon is all about its content ecosystem, so the availability of the tablets is closely linked with the Appstore becoming available in more countries as well, according to Peter King, director of tablet strategies at market research company Strategy Analytics.

"That was the stumbling block, the negotiations for opening those stores, but once that's in place it is very logical to supply the hardware," King said.

To celebrate the expansion of the Appstore, Amazon is bringing back one of its most popular Free Apps of the Day, "Fruit Ninja," along with "Cut the Rope: Experiments." These will be available on May 23 and May 24, respectively, Amazon said.

The company announced its global Appstore expansion in April by telling developers they could start submitting their apps. If Amazon wants to be seen as a serious alternative in the marketplace, it needs to offer the store on a worldwide basis. That's fundamentally important, Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS Insight, said at the time.

The Appstore can be downloaded and installed on any Android-based smartphone.

Amazon's content isn't just about apps, as users will also be able to access more than 300,000 books that are exclusive to the Kindle Store, according to Amazon.

The company is currently competing with Google for the third spot in the branded tablet market. Today's announcement puts it in a position to pull away from Google and its Nexus tablets, and become a clear third after Apple and Samsung Electronics, according to King. To counter, Google will have to expand its distribution as well, he said.

There have been a lot of rumors about how Amazon will expand its device portfolio.

"Amazon sees devices as a growth market. I would expect more tablets, but whether it comes out with smartphones is debatable," King said.

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Tags mobiletabletsmobile applicationshardware systemsamazon.com

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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