Friday, October 09, 2009

Amazon's Kindle Goes Global With GSM

On Wednesday, Amazon.com made a move they definitely needed to make, particularly as Apple's tablet PC, which is rumored to be focused on e-books, approaches. They not only lowered the price of the Kindle 2, but extended its usefulness to include the rest of the world by adding an International version.

The problem with the original Kindle and Kindle 2 was that they used Sprint for the wireless connection. That's fine for U.S. customers, but it limited use to America, as Sprint CDMA network is restricted to the U.S.

Most of the rest of the world uses GSM, and Amazon.com has partnered with AT&T to bring the nwe International version to market. The GSM version of the Kindle 2 is $279, while the Sprint version is now $259.

Simply stated, it seems that Amazon.com just threw Sprint under the bus, as with the difference between the two versions being a mere $20, who in their right mind would buy the Sprint version?

I will admit, cynic that I am, that I think about the fact that the AT&T Kindle will have to share AT&T's network in the U.S. with the iPhone, and wonder if that will become a pain point or not. Still, the smart move would still be to buy a GSM version.

It's probably no coincidence that both Palm, with their Pre, and Amazon.com, with the Kindle, picked Sprint for the wireless network for their devices. The struggling number 3 U.S. carrier was probably quite cooperative.

The people who are probably not happy about this development are those who purchased the Sprint Kindles, and anyone who bought the Kindle DX. Anyone thinking about a DX, in fact, should probably table that thought: this development surely points to a GSM DX sometime in the future.
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