Remember back in the fall of 2011 when all the tech blogs raved about Amazon’s new amazingly affordable tablet called the Kindle Fire? It wasn’t quite an iPad killer but you could argue it did force Apple to create the iPad mini thanks to its until-then uniquely 7-inch screen size. Since then consumers in the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy have all been able to check out and play with online retailer’s tablet, while Canadians have been left pressing their noses up against the glass to watch with interest. But no more.
Amazon has announced that its Kindle Fire HD 7-inch and Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch are now available to customers in Canada for pre-order through Amazon.ca, The Source and Staples, and will hit stores June 13. The larger 8.9-inch version will sell for $284, while the original 7-inch is $214. In its press release, the company touted the access Canadians will have to more than as more then 300,000 e-books, as well as 1 million apps and games through the newly available Amazon Appstore. But there was still a pretty big online elephant in the room.
One of the Kindle Fire’s biggest original selling points, aside from its price, was the access it would provide to Amazon’s treasure chest of content. And while e-book, games and apps are nice and expected, Canadians are still missing out on the company’s crown jewel of content—video. In the U.S., Amazon Prime Video is a Netflixian iTunes-like service where you can stream or download movies and TV shows. And last month the company debuted pilot episodes of 14 (!) new original series out of its Amazon Studios entertainment arm. Its video business is growing so rapidly, it’s even got a streaming TV set-top box in the works. So far, Canadians won’t have access to any of that.
Overall, though, it’s a big positive for the company to get these tablets into the Canadian market and start to whet our content appetite for (hopefully) what’s to come.