Amazon Kindle Fire nears UK launch
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The bookseller-turned-everything-seller is making deals to make sure the Kindle Fire will be packed with movies, music and other media for Europeans. Amazon boss Anthony Bay told a conference of video types, "If you're not talking to us, you should be," Reg Hardware reports. Them's fightin' words!
The Kindle Fire is an Android tablet, but not as we know it. Amazon has given it a custom-designed front end of top of Android, tailored specifically to finding, buying and watching digital content, such as movies, TV shows and online video.
That content-focused approach makes this one of the first Android devices to be geared towards one task, instead of the usual jack-of-all-trades approach of most tablets. The downside is that content -- I hate that word, but it saves me writing 'music and movies and TV and video and ebooks' -- is tied up by arcane and old-fashioned licensing deals dictating who can sell what in each country.
The Kindle Fire has been phenomenally successful in the US, but licensing deals seem to have held up its arrival in the UK and the rest of the world. Now Amazon is determined to cut through those international obstacles by reassuring the people who make the content that they will still make money.
Amazon is keen to stress to producers of movies and TV that digital video will not destroy the DVD and Blu-ray business. Just as Amazon now sells more ebooks than paper books -- but still sells an awful lot of paperbacks and hardbacks -- Amazon reckons it can make money from streaming and downloading video and traditional physical media.
I hate to be a cynic, but tell that to the music industry.
To see what all the Fire fuss is about, press play on our video to see the Amazon tablet in action:
Amazon owns LoveFilm, so it already has a stake in the digital movie market here in the UK. Things are hotting up with the arrival of Netflix at the start of this year and the coming of online access to Sky Movies, which launches as Now TV before the end of the year.
Sky Movies is the major player here in the UK when it comes to watching films in the comfort of your own home, thanks to its stranglehold on new films fresh from the multiplexes. I'd argue Amazon needs to get the Kindle Fire smouldering in the UK before Now TV turns up with Sky's movie monopoly behind it.
It's good to know Amazon hasn't forgotten about us. There's still no official word on when the Kindle Fire will land on these shores, but the signs suggest it could be sooner rather than later.
Are you burning with lust for the Amazon Kindle Fire? Can it offer a compelling alternative to the iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab for movie fans? Strike a light in the comments or on our Facebook page.