Compared with everyone else out there that’s shipping Android smartphones and tablets, Amazon is a unique Android device maker, as the online retailer took an entirely different approach when creating the Kindle Fire. Instead of only customizing the user interface of the Kindle Fire Android OS version, like most companies do with their products, Amazon went a step further and built its own Android-based OS, that’s independent from Google.
In the process, Amazon went ahead and removed Google’s online services from the Kindle Fire’s OS including the Google Play app store – Android Market as it was called back then. That meant that Amazon controlled everything related to the Kindle Fire: the operating system and future updates and the content stores (ebooks, apps, music, movies and TV shows) in a similar manner Apple does with its own iOS ecosystem.
But the downside of this approach was that Amazon could not bring its Kindle Fire to other regions of the world since its digital stores were not licensed to operate in other countries. And without content sources, the Kindle Fire is just a cheap, portable device that does web browsing.
AllThings D now reports that Amazon is about to bring its app store – conveniently branded Appstore – to certain European countries including the UK, Germany, France, Austria, Italy and Spain. The launch is scheduled for later this summer, although an actual release date is not yet available. App submissions from developers will be accepted starting next week, although this rumor also needs official confirmation from the company.
Appstore apps work on other Android devices out there not just the Kindle Fire. Therefore, if for some reason you’re not happy with Google Play and your based in Europe, you’ll soon be able to use your Amazon account to browse the Appstore looking for app deals.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon bringing its other digital stores to Europe and other markets soon, especially the music and video services, the absence of which would be detrimental to successful Kindle Fire sales in the region. After all, it’s more than logical to assume that Amazon is interested in launching the Kindle Fire in as many markets as possible in the following years, especially since Google is going to introduce its own Nexus tablet, a 7-inch device specifically made to counter the negative effects of the Kindle Fire.
Amazon’s tablet became a hit in the Christmas quarter last year, and while the company doesn’t provide actual sales numbers, it is believed that it sold well over 5.5 million units since the Kindle Fire was launched. Most of the sales were made in time for Christmas (an estimated 4.8 million units) with demand dwindling in the following months. Therefore, the company simply has to bring the Kindle Fire to more and more markets in order to stay competitive, especially since Amazon is rumored to launch a couple of new Kindle Fire versions this year, with one of them expected to compete against the iPad for customer attention.
The Amazon Appstore appears to be just the first phase of Amazon’s tablet deployment in European markets, and it’s just a question of when we’ll see the Kindle Fire hit stores in the region. Anyone excited?