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Amazon has announced that folks in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan can now purchase the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, with prices starting at £229.00, €269 and ¥15,800. At the same time, the company says consumers in the US can expect to receive a healthy discount over the device's launch price.
Since arriving last November, the slate's 32GB/4G LTE configuration has gone for $499. That has been cut by $100 to $399, while $499 now gets you 64GB of storage. Additionally, the 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi-only versions of the 8.9-incher have been cut by $30 to $269 and $299. We should note that these prices are for the units that come with "special offers" such as sponsored screensavers. Avoiding that costs another $15.
As part of the announcement, Amazon said it's thrilled with the reaction to its 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, but it was tightlipped as usual about actual sales data. However, the company did reveal that by expanding to new regions, it has increased production volumes and reduced costs, which is how it managed to chop prices in the US. "Across our business at Amazon, whenever we are able to create cost efficiencies like this, we want to pass the savings along to our customers," Amazon Kindle VP Dave Limp said.
Lowering the barrier to entry fits with the company's reputation for selling tablets and e-readers at cost, or nearly so, with the expectation of turning a profit through its software and services. For instance, many Kindle hardware owners are more likely to pony up for the $79 a year Amazon Prime subscription, which opens up access to the company's video streaming service and its e-book lending program among other perks.
It's worth mentioning that the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD made our recent tablet roundup, which offers a quick spec comparison and summary of the current market. Amazon's flagship measures 240 x 164 x 8.8mm, weighs 575g and features a TI OMAP4 4470 SoC, a 1920x1200 display, 1GB of RAM, a 720p front camera, USB, microHDMI, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional WWAN and GPS, and runs a custom version of Android 4.0.
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD features an 8.9-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display rated at 254 PPI, inside is a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor. Other key features include dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus, front-facing HD camera, HDMI-out, dual-band Wi-Fi technology with MIMO (2.4GHz and 5.0GHz) and 16GB of onboard storage.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
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