British tablet fiends have been casting envious glances toward the US ever since the Kindle Fire was launched Stateside in September last year. And with each new Fire story that breaks we have the inevitable hope and speculation that Amazon is considering dropping the device over this side of the pond sometime soon.
Though it now appears less likely than ever that the Kindle Fire will reach UK stores. Thanks to dipping sales in the US and the launch of the hugely successful Google Nexus 7 over here, experts say Amazon will be loath to fan the Fire’s flames worldwide.
"The performance we saw in Q4 [financial Quarter 4, 2011] has certainly not been sustained into Q1 and Q2 ," Carolina Milanesi, mobile analyst at Gartner, told ZDNet this week. "With the arrival of the Nexus 7 and other 7-inch tablets Amazon will be pushed to deliver a Fire that has no hardware compromises."
Another important factor preventing its launch outside the States is the absence of a supporting ecosystem elsewhere. Whereas Amazon can supply a full entertainment service on home turf, its library of video, music and books does not generally extend into other countries. The tablet’s app store would be similarly restricted as the Fire runs a specially modified version of Android that does not offer the full range of downloads.
"So for Amazon moving into a market like Europe, where content offerings would be weaker than in the US, it would make it much harder to compete,"added Milanesi.
With the hopes of Kindle suitors seemingly dashed, this may put the Fire to UK issue to bed for a while at least. But our Kindle (sans flames) infatuation continues to grow, as evidenced by Amazon’s announcement this week that its ebooks are now outselling paperbacks and hard copies combined in the UK.