We’ve waited a long time in the UK for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet.
It was released a year ago in the States, and now, only with the refreshed version – and the new 7 inch HD slate – will we finally get to play with an Amazon slate come the release date of October 25.
The basic Fire will cost £129, and the Fire HD £159, which is certainly commendably cheap for a tablet. You can’t get any cheaper without going to weird non-brand-name efforts.
And the HD model looks particularly good value, boasting a very nice, high-resolution screen critics have been quick to positively heap praise on at that price point.
There are still downsides for the UK, though, when it comes to the Fire, compared to what those in America are getting. A few features are missing – or at least, it hasn’t yet been confirmed that they will indeed make it to UK models.
Which seems odd, as most features have been confirmed and are all detailed and explained on Amazon UK’s Kindle Fire page – so these elements are certainly conspicuous by their absence.
The first and most major feature which definitely won’t be coming to the UK’s Kindle Fire is Amazon Prime streaming.
Over in the US, Amazon Prime members will be able to access the online retail giant’s massive library of streaming films and shows for free, unlimited viewing.
Sadly, Prime subscribers in the UK only get delivery benefits, as Prime streaming hasn’t yet been implemented in this country. It’s a big benefit that our US cousins have over and above us – but with any luck, it’ll be brought over this side of the pond before too much longer.
For now, though, it’s a big media consumption plus we don’t get.
Then there’s the Kindle Fire’s adverts. Yes, unfortunately the device is ad-supported, with adverts displaying on the lock screen – and also small text ads at the bottom of the home screen.
That’s going to be a source of annoyance to some, and Amazon quickly made the decision that folks will be able to pay $15 over in the US to remove the adverts from their Fire. However, whether UK users will be able to drop a tenner to achieve the same end, that hasn’t been confirmed.
Why not? That’s a good question. Hopefully, though, this ability will be coming to other territories and not just the States.
Finally, there’s Kindle Freetime – a parental control feature that allows you to set limits on when the kids can use the tablet, and what content they can access. This is being delivered as an update just after launch in the US – but there’s no mention of the feature on the UK Fire product page.
It may or may not be coming to UK tablets. A quick search of Amazon’s customer comments reveals different answers from customer support reps. One says it isn’t coming to the UK, another says it will eventually.
Let’s hope so, because as a family tablet, Freetime is a nice little extra.
And it’s just plain annoying to know that America is getting stuff we aren’t. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that all these features make it across the Atlantic, eventually; and our Fires – now we finally have them – aren’t going to be slightly dampened.