Amazon has announced today that the 8.9-inch version of its Kindle Fire HD tablet is now available in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan. To coincide with the expansion, the slate now has a new, lower price point in the US too, starting at $269 for the WiFi-only version and $399 for the 4G-enabled edition.

Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle said: “As we expand Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch to Europe and Japan, we’ve been able to increase our production volumes and decrease our costs. Across our business at Amazon, whenever we are able to create cost efficiencies like this, we want to pass the savings along to our customers.”

The 8.9-inch screen on the Kindle Fire HD has a resolution of 1920 by 1200, equal to 254 ppi, a dual-core 1.5 GHz TI OMAP 4470 processor, and Dolby Digital Plus audio. It also houses 1GB of RAM, a 6000 mAh and either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage.

Alongside its smaller 7-inch cousin, the Kindle Fire HD is Amazon’s flagship tablet at the moment, offering more than 23 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books and audiobooks to its users through the firm’s custom store.

Preorders for the Android powered-tablet began shipping for US consumers last November, following an official unveiling in September. At the time, Amazon was also offering a $49 per year data plan that offered 250MB of data each month, $10 of Amazon Appstore credit and 20GB of Cloud Storage.

The general consensus has been that the Kindle Fire HD is a decent, but not outstanding tablet. The price point is low, in keeping with its existing e-readers, but it’s contrasted with a sometimes unintuitive interface and user experience that promotes new content – and purchasing that content – at every turn.

In our review of the 7-inch version, we described it as a device far superior to the original Kindle Fire with “enormously better build and screen quality and even a few well-chosen hardware details that improve on other tablets like Apple’s iPad.”

Amazon will be glad to have the 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD available in Europe and Japan. With smaller tablets such as the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini taking hold, it’s sensible to enter the market now while consumers are sill choosing their preferred device and mobile OS.