A Touch of Fire – The New Kindle Family

Sorry for not having more updates on this blog, for the past month I’ve been busy with work, moving houses and assignments. At least I got to finish 2 books since last posting so I hope to have the reviews up soon. Anyway it has been an exciting week of news from Amazon. Everyone knew they are announcing their own tablet but no one knew that they would be releasing 4 versions of Kindles at once! They are great additions to the Kindle family and I would love to get my hands on them but Amazon still don’t have plans to ship the Kindle Touch or the Kindle Fire internationally yet. For now, I’ve been reading around about these devices and here is what I think:

Amazon Kindle (Latest Generation)

The latest generation of the Kindle e-reader, smaller and lighter than before with an unbeatable price tag of $79. I think this is the device to get for those who still have doubts about owning a dedicated e-reading device. It has a great form factor and is affordable enough for everyone to give it a try. You will easily recuperate the cost of the device with the savings from your electronic books. The downside is that it doesn’t have a physical keyboard, so it will be quite a hassle to make notes when using the on-screen keyboard. However if you just plan on reading then this is a great device to have.

Kindle Touch

The Kindle Touch and the Kindle Touch 3G, starting from $99 with special offers to $189 for 3G support and without special offers. Great devices, light and small with touch sensitive screens for navigation. The new feature X-Ray is great, I think it will come in handy when you want to dig deeper into a book or remind yourself of characters. I would love to have had this feature for quick references when I was reading Ready Player One and A Clash of Kings. This is the device to get if you have one of the earlier generations of Kindle and looking to upgrade to a more portable e-reading device. However for someone such as myself who has a Kindle 3, also now known as the Kindle Keyboard, I don’t think the upgrade is attractive enough for me to go through with it. I will give it a pass and wait for the 5th generation.

Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire, a 7″ colour tablet that runs on a heavily customised version of the Android platform. I don’t think this is or ever intended to be the iPad killer but a dedicated entertainment device that connects to all the different services that are on offer in the Amazon ecosystem. In order for Amazon to offer the Kindle Fire for $199, they are clearly betting on you to be spending a lot more than that by purchasing content from them. If anyone knows a thing or two about customer purchasing behaviour, it would be Amazon. Indeed from the videos shown so far, it looks like you can easily purchase content at your fingertip. This is something that no other Android tablets have done so far. Instead of concentrating on a device with high specs and so many features that would confuse the average users, Amazon decided to create a great performing device with a big focus on entertainment so they can get the devices into the hands of as many people as possible. Only time will tell how well this device will do in the market but I have a feeling that this will be selling like hotcakes.

What I’m interested in is seeing if Amazon has plan to release the Kindle Fire Internationally? Currently Amazon doesn’t have much rights to distribute content internationally. Just take a look at the Kindle book store, it has been out for a number of years, but the International Kindle store is still completely lacklustre when compared to the US or UK Kindle stores. Will this device make Amazon think more about distributing content to the International audience or will they be satisfied with just the US or European markets?