Is the Kindle Fire Useless for International Users?

kindle fire

The Kindle Fire is being heralded by most journalists as the apex tablet and will prove to be serious competition for the Apple iPad. I don’t think this is necessarily the case because of the absence of critical features for the international market.

The Kindle Fire has many core features that are being hyped as being key selling points. It has free cloud storage, Amazon App Store, Amazon Instant Video, and Prime. The problem is none of these features are available for Non-USA based residents! Amazon has not made any of their core features that are a part of the Kindle Fire valid for Canada and other countries.

Right now, the Amazon Kindle Fire is only available for pre-order in the USA. It does not have any international availability on Amazon to be ordered unless you are an American resident.

If Amazon hopes to seriously compete against the iPad, I would surmise they should make their services available to key markets. Countries such as the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and Canada are poised to continue their growth in the tablet sector. If Amazon continues to ignore the broader international market, customers are likely to keep buying iPads or other competing tablets, such as the Kobo Vox.

Michael Kozlowski (5212 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to

  • Jørgen te Giffel

    services not being available outside of US-centric corporations has not always been a problem (ie.
    Netflix, Google Books, Hulu, most e-books, Kindle 1, iTunes-series/mobies. However I agree it’s extremely annoying

  • Guest

    Before you think of getting a Kindle twinkle …err…Fire, here’s some limitations of it that you need to consider:
    – Kindle Fire doesn’t have microSD slot that, for example, Nook Color has thus it is stuck with 6 GB usable internal storage unlike Nook Color that can get up to 32 GB card in. Kindles are made to be almost like a “dumb terminal” of the past to make sure you’re tied up to Amazon’s storage on the web (for which you need Wi-Fi connection to get to) and you can only store content you get from Amazon there, not other files. Quoting Amazon on Kindle Fire: “Free cloud storage for all Amazon content”. Get it, Amazon content?
    – The stats of how long the battery can last (Kindle Fire theory is 8 hours) are taken with Wi-Fi off. You can only imaging how much less Kindle Fire battery will last if you use it to access content from their Cloud storage over Wi-Fi.
    – Amazon can spy on your web activity through their new cloud-integrated web browser of Kindle Fire.
    – VERY IMPORTANT – lack of microSD slot means that if you decide to root your Kindle Fire, you’ll have to root the actual device thus there will be no coming back. On Nook Color, you can make it boot from a “rooted” microSD card and if you want to get back to the original Nook you can just take out the card and reboot.
    – Kindle doesn’t support eBooks in ePub format that is the most used format in the world.
    – Kindle app store contains only Amazon approved apps and it does not include (and will not include) Netflix app that iPad has and Nook Color is getting thus again you’re stuck with Amazon content only.
    – Amazon confirmed that you cannot download anything to Kindle Fire when traveling abroad.
    I’d recommend waiting for a couple of weeks as Nook Color 2 is rumored to be released by Barnes & Noble.

  • Unhappy Canuck

    Why yes, yes it is useless for international users. You can’t even order it if you live outside the continental US. But I guess you can hardly blame Amazon, it’s not the only company that doesn’t offer its products in Canada. After all, we only got electrictiy and indoor plumbing last month here in the “great white north”.

  • enem tanem

    I waited for a european release, to buy one for Christmas.Now Amazon can shove  the Fire wherever ….
    I ordered an ipad2, the itunes works here.

  • Amsedel49

    Amazon should stop apologizing and put its money where its mouth is – open its stores to international users! 

  • Tian Luu

    This is exactly the forum I was looking for, question for perhaps the writer or anyone else who may know this. I’m a U.S. Resident and plan on keeping a bank account linked to things like Amazon open here while I move, but I am moving to Hong Kong this spring for 2 years. Before anyone assumes, Hong Kong is NOT China, they don’t block content and you can essentially still treat them much like they’re a British colony though admittedly, their Amazon page is through China. That said, if I keep that account open, will I still be able to access my Amazon U.S. content? That is my primary concern. Thank you!!

  • frustrated user

    it loses books and you cannot download abroad

  • Ava Dean

    sigh…if only i read this before i bought it as a present for my father..(I live in the Bahamas)

  • Miyad

    Pls don’t buy a Kindle fire or Kindle later ones because it will not work except US and 1 or 3 countries only.
    Pls..Pls i bought a one and it was a big loss. I was only able to use for searching web and facebook nothing else. I am from Asia.