January 6, 2010

Big-Screen Kindle Going Global

More than a year after the release of its original Kindle digital reader, Amazon says it is ready to introduce the device's new sibling "” a large-screen, international version that aims at attracting businessmen, students and avid newspaper readers.  With a price tag that comes in at under $500 and a product release scheduled for more than 100 countries, the Internet retail giant is truly aiming at the global market this time.

The new Kindle DX can already be pre-ordered online, and worldwide shipping is set to begin on January 19, says Amazon.

Market analysts had been initially skeptical of the new device, pointing out that its bulkiness goes against current trends toward ever-smaller devices.  Many were also concerned that a pricey gadget would not do well in a market where more and more consumers are tightening their budgetary belts.

Spokesmen from Amazon, however, have defended the market viability of the new Kindle DX, saying that the device is aimed at a market niche that has not yet been fully exploited "” namely, creating a gadget that is practical for use with digital textbooks, magazines and newspapers, which require a larger format for optimal reading.

"On a global basis customers love the 6-inch device, and we know in the U.S. that customers are also loving the 9.7(-inch) Kindle DX," said Ian Freed, Vice President of Amazon Kindle, in phone interview with Reuters.

"Now, DX customers can take all of their books with them when they travel and all their loose printed documents [and] all of your newspapers can follow you from country to country, delivered fresh each morning, with no additional fee," he added.

Equipped with a display that has about 2.5 times the surface area of the original Kindle, the new Kindle DX also has wireless capabilities, a PDF reader and enough storage space to fit roughly 3,500 digital books.

Since Kindle first blazed the trail for digital readers in October of 2008, a number of companies around the world have begun developing spin-offs, a fact that attests to the success and popularity of the device.

In December of 2009, Amazon announced that the Kindle reader had become the most-purchased gift item in its 14-years of online retail history.

Amazon's in-house Kindle book shop currently offers a catalogue of over 300,000 digitized books in English which are generally priced lower than traditional paper books.  Customers can also buy subscriptions or single issues of popular newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, Newsweek and The Economist.


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