Using a Kindle Fire outside the U.S.

Posted: 24. November 2011 in gadgets, geeky
Tags: ,

Most of you probably heard of the Kindle Fire by now. It is kind of Amazon’s answer to the iPad 2.


And the chances are probably good that you are thinking of getting one for Christmas. However, if you are living outside of the United States you might want to think twice.

Why? Because officially the Kindle Fire is only offered in the US at the moment. From what I’ve heard they still need to sort some cloud policy stuff in Europe before they can roll it out here.

Anyway, this doesn’t mean that you can’t buy a Kindle Fire and ship it to wherever you live. But be aware that not everything will work!

I happen to live in Ireland and got my hands on one of these devices to do some testing. Not because I’m an IT guy, but because our company bought a few of them as gifts for our employees, however they didn’t research first to see if they can actually use it here so I had to go and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Now, without further ado, here is what you can do:

– browse the web/check emails, if you are connected to a wi-fi network
– purchase, download and read books from the various amazon stores (Germany, UK,…)
– use the apps that are pre-installed

That’s pretty much it! At least if you don’t have a PC,…

At this point, please note that the device doesn’t come with a USB cable!

So, if you have a PC and a USB cable (micro-b port), you can also do the following:

– transfer your pictures, movies and documents to the Fire via USB and obviously watch them on the device.

Now, what you can’t do is this:
– download apps from the Amazon app store. This is probably the biggest issue for most people, however there is a way to work around that to get apps. *
– use Amazon’s cloud music player (
– use Amazon’s cloud storage
– use Amazon’s video services (in my tests I could watch trailers but not buy/rent movies)

According to Amazon’s customer service, you can use all the services if you have an account with an US billing address. But I assume most of the people outside the US don’t have that.

When asking if and how soon Amazon will make those services and the app store available in Europe, they couldn’t give me any information whatsoever.

Hope this is of help to somebody, when I did some research I couldn’t really find something useful, hence I am posting it now myself 😉

* Please note that installing third party apps can involve some risks (malicious software), so only do that if you know what you’re doing!

  1. Guy Macqueen says:

    Thanks you very much – I found this very informative as I stay in South Africa and am looking at bringing one over… that I know what I can and can’t do, this certainly sets the expectation…. thanks Guy

  2. Question for you: how do you recharge the device? Do you use an adapter to fit the US recharger to an Irish power supply? I want to get one to take to Ireland later this year, so I’m very curious. Thanks for your article, it was very very helpful to me.

  3. Nalyom9 says:

    yes a very helpful article it finally cleared up alot of the myths about the fire use here in Ireland.

  4. Nalyom9 says:

    One question… What is the web browsing like? I hear different reports a lot, does the Amazon silk not working make much difference to performance??

    • Christoph says:

      It’s ok for ordinary web browsing I would say. It felt a bit sluggish at times but all in all ok. Remember that this is not an iPad (or other high-end device)

      • Nalyom9 says:

        I see, sounds good enough for me I’ve been web browsing via a HTC wildfire phone so I have no problem it not being on par with an Ipad. Thanks for your reply.

  5. Nalyom9 says:

    does anyone know if the app workaround linked on here could work on the new kindle fire hd. I plan to get one from the uk this month

  6. Nalyom9 says:

    Great! Thanks for that.

  7. Anne Healy says:

    Hi thanks for your review really helpful. You mentioned that you had no problem downloading books was that thru thanks

  8. Rosemary says:

    am I being really stupid that I can’t get facebook or twitter on it? I’ve linked my accounts to it but can’t see or find the pages anywhere!!!

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