New Kindle coming … to NZ finally

The third generation Kindle has just been announced, due for delivery 27 August. There will be two variations of the new Kindle – a US$189 3G version like the present model, and a US$139 WiFi-only model.

And according to this NBR story, the Kindle will finally ship to New Zealand with the new device’s release. We’ve been mysteriously Kindle-free for almost a year since Kindle’s widespread international release.

The Kindle ebooks have been available to New Zealand buyers since late last year. I’ve been a regular buyer via my iPod Touch and now iPad.

The new Kindle is 21 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than the previous model. It has a 20 percent faster refresh rate on its E Ink screen, longer battery life (1 month without wireless, 10 days with wireless on), and a larger 4GB storage. It comes in white and a slate grey. Endgadget briefly got their hands on the gadget and report that:

… the Kindle is still very much the reading device you know and love (or hate, depending on your preferences). The build quality and materials used did seem slightly more polished than the previous version, and we really liked the new, more subtle rocker. We can also attest to screen refreshes and overall navigation feeling noticeably more responsive and snappy compared with the previous generation.

The US$139 price point of the WiFi model might be the final push the market needs to get below the US$100 mark for basic models such as the Kobo or BeBook One. The latter is still a ridiculously expensive A$449 for a non-WiFi e-Ink reader. It’s a perfectly good eReader but it’s hard to see how the smaller independent makers like BeBook can survive when they remain so far out of line with market trends.

Amazon's third generation Kindle

Comments (9)

  1. Bill Bennett

    It’s sad. The Kindle is around three years old, but it’s only just made it to New Zealand.

    The iPad got here first.

    This will make it hard for the Kindle to succeed here. I suspect local publishers focusing on the home market will bypass it altogether.

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  3. Martin Taylor (Post author)

    Hi Bill

    It’s definitely sad that it’s been so long in coming and Amazon has missed an opportunity to build mindshare and market share when it was the only game in town. That said, one thing it will no doubt do is raise awareness here for the Kindle store in NZ. The iPhone and iPad apps work just fine here.

    I think there’s still going to be a place for e-Ink readers like the Kindle, now that prices are falling though I’m gobsmacked that the independent manufacturers like BeBook have been so slow to respond. Most of the cost is in the e-Ink screen, the electronics are very basic. Prices will fall much further and I’d expect you’ll soon be able to buy one for the price of a book. iPads are still too expensive and too uncomfortable for immersive reading. But, of course, that will change too.

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  6. Jock

    When will the 9 inch? version be available in NZ?

  7. Martin Taylor (Post author)

    Jock, I presume you mean the Kindle DX? That’s the large format eInk Kindle that Amazon released a couple of years ago hoping it would work for the education market. It seems to have been a rare flop from Amazon so my guess is that we’ll never see it – or if we do, it’s probably not what you should be buying. A more interesting option will be the rumoured 9-inch Kindle Fire which will be a more direct iPad competitor. Rumours (just that) are a mid 2012 release but I suspect that less important markets like NZ will have to wait a few months or more beyond that. This seems to be the pattern with Amazon’s hardware: New product lines have long release delays for smaller international markets but these delays will shorten as the product line matures.

  8. Anonymous

    Will the Kindle paperwhite be able to be shipped to NZ?

  9. Martin Taylor (Post author)

    The Kindle Paperwhite is not shipping to NZ yet. Looks like initial shipments will be US-focused. I don’t think it will be long before it ships here since it’s just another e-Ink Kindle. The Kindle Fire range is a different matter since it’s tied to Amazon’s Android App store which will need to be localised before the devices ship. It seems they’re rolling that out to major markets first.

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