Amazon has today launched a dedicated Australian Kindle Store and will officially sell its new Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets in Australian stores, but the devices are more expensive than US models.
The company announced this morning that the Kindle Fire HD ($189), the 7" Kindle Fire HDX ($329) and the 8.9" Kindle Fire HDX ($479) will be available in Australia in the coming weeks through Dick Smith and Big W stores.
The Australian pricing of the new Kindle tablets is more expensive than US models. The 8.9" Kindle Fire HDX currently starts at US$379 in the US, while the 7" model sells for US$229, both $100 less.
The entry level Fire HD tablet sells for $US139, compared to $189 in Australia.
When asked why Australian consumers are paying more for the new Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon Kindle's Vice President, Neil Lindsay, told Good Gear Guide that "prices are locally driven, so they will not be impacted by the USD/AUD rates."
The new tablets come as Amazon officially launches a dedicated Australian version of its Kindle Store, available from today.
The company claims the store offers over two million eBooks and over 26,000 free English-language titles, including selection of content from local Australian authors. Previously, Kindle content for users in Australia was purchased through the US store.
"The new Kindle Store is customised for Australian customers, with local best sellers and curated lists relevant to Australians, and many titles from local publishers and authors such as Tim Winton, Karly Lane and Kate Morton."
Amazon says the Australian store offers over 700,000 books priced at $3.99 or less, and over 1.4 million books priced at $9.99 or less.
In addition to the store, independent authors and publishers can now make books available using the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform, earning up to 70 per cent royalties on sales.
Kindle Fire HD, HDX tablets
Both the 8.9" and 7" Kindle Fire HDX tablets come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants, while the Kindle Fire HD is available in 8GB and 16GB variants.
The 8.9" and 7" Kindle Fire HDX tablets have similar specifications. The smaller, 7" model has a 7in screen with a resolution of 1920x1200 (323ppi), while the 8.9" model has a slightly higher resolution 2560x1600 display (339ppi) measuring 8.9in.
Both models are powered by 2GB of RAM and have a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor.
The 8.9" Fire HDX is slightly slimmer at 8.8mm thick compared to the 7in Fire HDX's 9mm girth. Neither model has a microSD card slot, so users will have to make do with the internal storage.
The entry level, $189 Kindle Fire HD has a 7in 1280x800 resolution screen (216ppi) and a dual-core 1.5GHz processor.
The Kindle Fire HD and HDX devices are Android tablets but the operating system has been heavily modified by Amazon. The tablets will provide access to the Amazon Appstore for Android, but not Google's Android Market or any other Google services like Google Search and Google Maps.
The Amazon Appstore offers a selection of Android apps for Kindle Fire owners including popular titles like Angry Birds, Pulse News Reader, LinkedIn and Fruit Ninja.
The Appstore opened to US consumers in March 2011 and launched in Australia back in May.
The entry level Kindle Fire HD is available from today through Dick Smith and Big W retail stores, while the 7" Kindle Fire HDX will hit the shelves on Tuesday, 26 November.
The top of the range 8.9" Kindle Fire HDX will be available from Tuesday, 10 December.