Friday, October 9, 2009

Kindle 2 International - Follow-up news 10-09-09 - Update

Follow-up news on the Kindle 2  International after the big splash on Tuesday.

Mildly updated the "kindlecountries" file of country-specific Kindle information formatted from the Amazon page to include the news/rumors in New Zealand and Canada.

Kindle may yet come to New Zealand per New Zealand PC World's James Heffield.

Vodaphone's Paul Brislen says that Vodaphone is in "deep discussions" with Amazon to bring the K2i to New Zealand. However, he wouldn't speculate on how likely a deal with Amazon is or when it might happen and wasn't sure whether other telecommuications providers were also in negotiation with Amazon.

Telecom spokesperson Rebecca Earl was non-commital about ANYthing, confirming nothing but saying the company could "see the appeal of the Kindle" and was exploring options for "a device of this type."

The Globe & Mail reports that Amazon has 3 possible partners in Canada now while Amazon is shopping around for the best deal on the cost of providing Kindle owners wireless capability there.

If the problem lay with the inability to find a wireless carrier at a doable price, Amazon could have offered Canada the same non-wireless option it offered other countries, but someone in the know says it's a matter of time and deciding which company will handle it.
Rogers, an AT&T partner, had seemed the only source (maybe causing it to keep its pricing higher?) but Bell and Telus are going live with their next generation network earlier than expected, in November, which has implications for the holiday season.
The article ends with yet another report that a Canadian Kindle user reported to the newspaper that he has been able, in the last month, to download wirelessly in Canada.

According to Mobil Phone News's Luke McKinney, Vodafone and O2 are "in charge of wireless signals" in the UK but they seem to have been caught off guard, judging from their press releases, by Amazon's latest news. McKinney feels it's "especially odd considering Amazon’s previous statement that they couldn’t unleash their equipment in the UK until extensive negotiations with telecoms companies were complete."

He writes that UK mobile service is "notoriously provincial" with "various networks having hotspots and not-spots."

The writer asks why Amazon UK didn't launch it -- I think it's because they don't have the serving technology, Kindle billing and Kindle customer service support setup there yet. But the article references another Guardian article in which Amazon SVP Stephen Kessel spoke with the Guardian writer and mentioned the Kindle Int'l is not shipping until after the Frankfurt Book Fair, where publishers work their deals). I'm not sure how that relates to the question.

But the import tax situation then for UK residents is not attractive. The UK Value-Added Taxes are included in the cost of the books there.

Kessel did say, ""In the future we plan to introduce a UK-centric experience to allow people in Britain to purchase Kindle and Kindle books," Kessel said."

In connection with the puzzlement of UK wireless providers, The Guardian adds:
' Another mystifying question: which mobile network is Amazon going to use? AT&T, its partner in the US, doesn't have a presence in the UK. So who is Amazon's UK mobile network? Its earlier statements this morning were models of non-clarity:

"Kindle with international wireless uses advanced 3G GSM technology to power Amazon's wireless delivery system 'Whispernet' over the AT&T Global Network."

Could Kessel elucidate? Is Amazon going to be a mobile virtual network operator in the UK, like Virgin, renting airtime from the main four networks (O2, Orange, Vodafone and 3)?

"AT&T is through their network of partnerships providing 3G network coverage to Kindle and Whispernet across 100 countries." Er, OK, so which network in the UK? "You'd have to ask AT&T." We intend to. But he said that there will be no "roaming" charges; if you're a UK Kindle buyer you won't get any charges using it in the UK from a mobile network. What about a UK Kindle owner in the US - would they see roaming charges? "You pay no roaming charges."

[ What ? ]

Then there's the final question, relating to books and publication rights, which has exercised publishers and authors and agents. You'll know that some books are published in some countries, but not in others. These are often the subject of big rights bids.
. . .
Even so, we've heard that if you subscribe to UK papers on a Kindle in the UK that you may not be able to get images downloaded (there might be copyright issues). We're seeking confirmation on that. '
The commenters to that article are not overenthused about e-readers in general.

Returning to the article about "Roaming Charges paid by Americans" - that takes official customer-rates for 'roaming' rates to a situation in which the wireless will be provided by partners who are right there in the UK and comes up with an unreasonably high figure for costs there as a result, and even U.S's Sprint is said to charge relatively little to Amazon for unused bandwidth relative to what they'd charge individual customers.

Every article referenced from the Guardian has wholly different points of view on this.

This is Cramer's intro to a story for which have to sign up to read it in full, which I didn't.  Since it's used as a lead and lure for a 14-day trial, I'll expand the possible audience here.  Cramer writes:
' Do you know that Amazon is closing in on its all-time high? Do you know that what was once considered the most overvalued stock in the world is now starting to be viewed as cheap, even as it goes higher, because of the tremendous scale it is reaching and the company's effort to drive down product pricing?

When I heard about still one more price cut for the Kindle, it dawned on me. Amazon is Ford, and Jeff Bezos is Henry Ford, without the cranky anti-Semitism and braggadocio demeanor, although I never heard Ford laugh, so I don't know if they have that in common. Ford decided to make cars for the masses, and with it, he broke down the price barriers and grabbed market share and mind share and scale, making it so that his company was so rich that he could afford to pay... '

'...Kara Swisher at All Things D has details from Ken Auletta’s upcoming book, “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It, says TechFlash.
  Among the juicy tidbits: Bezos invested $250,000 in then-startup Google in 1998 at 4 cents a share. The Amazon CEO told Auletta that he “just fell in love with” Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at their first meeting in a Silicon Valley garage.  While it’s not clear what Bezos did with his piece of Google, Swisher notes that his stock would be worth $1.6 billion today. '

 Ouch!  The article also mentions Amazon's Google-search-challenger A9 which did not do well.  The A9 unit still provides the searches for its ecommerce sites.  The Amazon forums had no searches for the last 2 years but added a very fast, effective one last month.
  Jeff Bezos was an early investor in Twitter too.

Several articles quote Amazon as saying they'll make an international Kindle DX also, but how could they not ?  They say only that it'll be sometime next year. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. I have a theory - totally unsubstantiated -- as to the lower price for K2 and the int'l K2 and also why the int'l feature isn't offered for DX.

    I think that all summer long the DX has been kicking butt in sales vs. the K2. Don't forget, Amazon has a HUGE investment in the production line for the K2 and if sales haven't been up to snuff, they need to massage that part of the program. What better way than by lowering the price AND by offering ONLY the K2 with an int'l wireless capability. Worldwide sales should soar. At such time in the future that Amazon has a good return on its investment, you'll see the int'l feature expand over to the DX.

    Sloop John B.

  2. Sloop John, good to see you from the forums!

    I think that the market for the Kindle has been primarily the novel-oriented, paper-back reading consumer who has been drawn to Amazon's book site.

    The Kindle 2 International won't be from any existing older stock as it carries an entirely different modem type, which is why the U.S. version of Kindle 2 can't be used with the type of wireless access used in Europe though the new model will be able to work in the U.S.

    That doesn't mean they can't change the internal piece but I don't think they've had problems selling the Kindle 2 vs the larger DX, which is targeted to those wanting a larger Kindle and who are interested in reading PDFs on a larger screen and books with complex ilustrations. I felt that way but am pleased with the extreme clarity of the DX and the ability to carry with me all the manuals I normally keep losing as well as being able to read those more easily on the larger screen, but in my run of forums, I find most feel all they need is the smaller Kindle, which is more easily portable for many and less attention-getting when opened to read while waiting in lines.

    People who will be spending almost all their time in the U.S. and not travelling should look at the wireless/whispernet coverage of all of the Kindles, with respect to where they live.

    That can be seen for all Kindles in my reference area at

    Thanks for the feedback, John. For all we know, could be.

    - Andrys


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