At the time of writing the new ‘international’ version of the Kindle is not for sale in New Zealand, although there are rumours floating around that Vodafone might get involved in selling it.
Undaunted I bought one online and had it delivered to an Australian address and now have it safely back in New Zealand.
The first thing that impressed me, before I even had it, was that Amazon announced a price drop before it had been delivered, and they put a $50 credit on my credit card. When was the last time anyone did that for you? Having just purchased a number of iPhones off Vodafone and was assured they “made a tiny margin on them and couldn’t discount them” I found within a few weeks that the prices had dropped by$100′s, the response from Vodafone was unsatisfactory and amounted to “tough’. Enough of me bitching about Vodafone.
The second thing is that I think the Kindle actually works ‘wirelessly’ here. When Amazon talk about wireless, they don’t mean wifi, they mean that you buy books through the mobile phone network. This will explain Vodafone’s involvement. The top of the screen shows a ‘GPRS’ symbol and connection to a mobile network, although there’s no way of telling which network it is. As far as I can tell you can go to the online store, and buy a book and it’s delivered ‘wirelessly’, this all takes a few seconds. Should I be publicising this? I don’t know, maybe it just works and there’s nothing mobile companies can do about it,but I doubt this, it could be that Vodafone is running a trial and I can take advantage of this… it could also be that I’ve got this totally wrong and it’s getting the books from a pre-loaded list.
If it doesn’t work on the mobile network, don’t panicl. I bought a book from the online store and it took a few seconds to appear on the Kindle with no software required. All you need is a Kindle the USB cord that comes with it and an Amazon account, it’s really that simple.
As far as usability goes, like an iPhone, it comes with a small manual and is fairly intuitive. It’s very slim and light, lighter than a real book, there is also no screen reflective glare and the e-ink is very easy to read, even at an angle on a table, much better than reading a e-book on an iPhone. The styling is simple and sleek with a frosted aluminium back and a matt finish plastic front with flush buttons and a small raised navigation toggle.
Quite simply this is a well designed, easy to use e-book reader, and I can see that long term these are likely to replace paper books, and be used in unexpected ways. While it may be a while before it appears for sale in New Zealand, if you’re going to Australia or can get someone to pick one up, the exchange rate is good and it’ll work just fine in New Zealand. Make sure you get a cover, the only one available in Australia is the Kindle brand cover which is a nicely made, simple functional cover, it would pay to get this at the same time as the device to save freight.