Monday, October 19, 2009

Official Kindle International release today

Here are a couple of people in the Paris Tube who didn't want to wait for an international Kindle (released today) and apparently used a work-around to get the U.S.-only Kindle.  There are quite a lot of them on the Amazon forums.  This is often called a sighting of Kindles in the wild.

This article from Australia was just too fun to read, reminding me of how so many of us feel when we get our Kindles, a feeling that tends to stay with many.

  As I read around the Net, I see that some value the pure look of other configurations and are ready to buy based on that without considering features and even say that wireless access isn't a big deal or that the slow but free 24/7 Kindle web browser for times it can be useful is better replaced by paying for smartphone access at $360 per year minimum.

We all value different things, but the Kindle definitely has opened up a world of interest in reading *books* again - not just surfing the web (as I like to do) - and it's been so successful at this that we now have a plethora of interesting competing brands and models coming at us, which is only good for the consumer.

The writer of this magazine article opens with this:
' HUGE PHOTO GALLERY | We've got it in our hot little hands -- the first 'international' Kindle.
It would be an understatement to say that we were excited to be given a first look at the new Amazon Kindle for international markets.  In the face of impending competition from major competitors like Barnes and Noble and Apple, Amazon has busted the Kindle out of its United States-only shackles and released it to Australia (and other countries around the world). '
The (large) photos are much better than seen in the average display in Net articles.  This report consists of 6 pages, with titles Intro, First look at the Kindle, Reading a book on the Kindle, Buying books over Whispernet, Getting your morning newspaper on Kindle, and Something your printed paper can't do.

Re their image that I used (above, left), the writer says:
' One of the first things you notice about a Kindle is how amazing its screen is under bright light. This pic, shot in bright sunlight, shows how good the screen is. In fact, the brighter the light shining on the screen, the more contrast you get -- just like real paper. '
That's true, and it's also true that it's quite grayish in dimmer light.  But I use a clip-on light if it's too dark, as I do for a physical book.  The one I link to has a pad under the upper clamp portion which helps protect the Kindle.

K. Chant, a commenter from the UK, found that the subscription prices there are quite a bit higher than for the U.S. though -- $23 per month vs $10 per month here.  I suppose this is because of daily wireless access at the higher price in Europe, but that's just speculation on my part.  It's something Europeans should know about in advance though.

Plastic Logic is announcing today a bit more of what their Spring debut model will be like, but as too usual they don't demo a working model and still won't have a price until January. They named it "Que" and have two new pictures.  They've already said they aren't looking at the low-end for pricing but are gearing it toward business people, and it looks very good for business, so far.  

Per one article " Richard Archuleta, the company’s chief, says that the Que is a proReader that is not competing against Amazon’s Kindle as it can be used to sketch / edit documents, meaning that the device will be used by mobile professionals in document management areas. " Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. Andrys,

    Thanks for posting this. I'm on Plastic Logic's e-mail alert list, but would not have seen this right away, since I haven't been receiving the alerts regularly (which gives me a little bit of pause about their operations right off the bat, but I'm willing to cut a little slack at the outset). It looks like the case, besides changing color to black (which I prefer), also appears to have acquired some depth instead of being flat all the way around. Do you have any hunches as to whether this means they may have "stuffed" more into it to deal with some of the page turn speed issues, etc.?

    I'm very eager to see if many or most of the academic journals I use in my research will be available for this, as that would be my heaviest use. The reference to sketching/editing ability is intriguing as well. Not sure how I feel about the wireless function, as I'm pretty sure I wouldn't take on another contract, and I’m not a big fan of AT&T either. If it's not free, I would be fine with downloading documents via USB. Well, at least there’s a specific date to target, so my gadget lust can continue unabated! Take care.

  2. ...and yet ANOTHER entrant in the race!

  3. Batman, with my access being limited while away, I'll be missing a bit there! Thanks very much for adding the info. I hope you keep that up. I'll log on from time to time to release comments (otherwise too much spam) and upload an entry. Tomorrow's fly day.

    I'm bringing both Kindles in case one of our Kindles becomes confused during int'l travel to UnKindled places. AND will be bringing my netbook, and I cannot IMAGINE doing both on one device. Too heavy and battery-draining for an e-reader. And, get this, I might be bringing 3 travel books too! Gads, old habits die hard.

    Since relatives will be here, at least I can ask them to send things on my computer if I need them though.

    - Andrys

  4. Batman, your first note got stuck in my queue for some reason. It's up now.

    Plastic Logic's alerts - you'd think they'd want interested customers to be the first to hear about anything.

    The case glints now - before it looked like a cardboard frame for a photograph - and an old one at that. I don't know what to think of their announcements, which are promising but they go on Fox Business news with a non-working sample and it might as well be a cardboard sample.

    So this is at least better though it's still just pictures. It does look a bit deeper but the other probably was not much better than a cutout. So, now we have edges ! They get miles of exposure with essentially not-much.

    I've no idea but by the time they ever release this thing technology will have advanced a bit. The Sony is mildly faster, from what I read than the Kindle 2 in page turns. So it'd be no surprise if the PL were too but it is also larger and there is more data to display, refresh.

    Both this and the larger current iRexes (but their coming 8.1" model will NOT be good for your needs -- the DX is already too small for some PDFs), will do much better by editing capabilities. The current iRexes don't have the wireless access though, but you don't really need that. I'm curious why you're not already using the $900 iRex then. It does do editing with a stylus.

    PL will announce pricing in January -- when will they release?

    I do think the PL is your best chance but they keep upping the business/'pro' aspect of it, which means they are getting people ready for the pricing. For you, it'd be worth it almost surely unless they don't program it well (as has happened with navigational features on the iRex). Probably not for most students though, if they price it above $600. (As you know, the Apple will likely go for $800 once it's here.)

    The PL - the wireless will be for direct access to a store and uploading area for exchanging of documents. They're not going to be allowing any web-browsing. Nor will iRex.

    In the meantime prospective customers are grousing that Amazon hasn't enabled web browsing in high-wireless-$ Europe.

  5. Andrys,

    Have a good trip. I'll have to fill you in at some point on my early experiences with a tablet slate computer, but one thing seems clear to me - your comments about weight and battery life not being compatible with (comfortable) e-reading definitely apply to these. Bon voyage!

  6. Hi
    just got my kindle 2 international yesterday. It works fine. However am very disappointed with the availability of content in europe. This will be a big issue for anyone buying in europe. Is there a workaround that people use at all? I found 6 books i wanted to buy in the kindle store but only one was available to buy in europe!!!

  7. Anybody tried to buy US-only books with the international kindle by simply changing the home country setting? I heard that an US credit card is no longer necessary, is that true?

  8. Anonymous,
    That is maddening. They say that the publisher agreements for e-books are very country-specific and this kind of thing doesn't apply to hardcover books. I think this is untenable for many when the books they want are there but not available to Kindle owners in other countries.

    Write to let them know about your disappointment.

    Also, remember that if there are no signs of improvement and it's not worth it then to keep the Kindle (check to see whether the book would be available to you in your country at Barnes & Noble or Sony Online stores), then you can return the Kindle to Amazon within 30 days and they'll refund the money.

    If I hear of any softening of publisher agreements not allowing those books to be solde in some other countries, I'll post it and if you hear of anything on your end, I'd lover to hear it. Would also like hearing if you CAN get your e-books via Barnes & Noble or Sony once their ebook-readers are ready.

    BEFORE the int'l Kindles were released or sold, people used valid U.S. addresses for a 2nd account with Amazon and bought (w/ their original non-USA acct) Amazon gift certificates which can be sold anywhere w/o geographic restrictions and gifted their 2nd account with those certificates. Then they used that 2nd account to buy books (which are not delivered to a street address but to one's computer) but they have to remember to keep enough in the gift certificate account for any purchase.

    People who did this with the older Kindles are still doing it.

    Thanks for the information. I sure hope the situation improves for you.

    - Andrys


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