Widening the market for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablet to parts of Europe and to Japan will allow Amazon to sell it cheaper in the United States, the online retail giant announced on Wednesday.
The new price for the devices is $269 for the 16-gigabyte Wi-Fi version, down $30, and $399 for the lowest-price 4G, LTE high-speed data Kindle, down a substantial $100. The price of the versions of both models with more storage remains unchanged.
“As we expand Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch to Europe and Japan, we’ve been able to increase our production volumes and decrease our costs,” said Dave Limp, vice president of Amazon Kindle, in a statement. “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.”
The change comes as Apple’s dominance in the tablet market it created is beginning to slip, with new models of Samsung’s hit Android-powered tablets such as the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note squaring off against the iPad, now available in 9.7 inch and 7.9 inch options. Microsoft’s Surface and Google’s Android Nexus are also making headway.
Kindle uses a specialized version of Google’s Android operating system. According to just-released figures from research firm IDC, tablet shipments worldwide will grow 11 percent this year to 109.9 million, and Android’s share will reach 48.8 percent. That would decline only slightly to 46 percent by 2017. Apple’s share will drop below 50 percent for the first time this year with a 46 percent share, and down to 43.5 percent by 2017, IDC predicts.
The biggest growth predicted is for Windows, from 2.8 percent to 7.4 percent for Windows 8 devices and 1.9 percent to…