Amazon has announced an international version of its Kindle e-book reader. Priced at US$279, the global version of the Kindle will work in over 100 countries and shares the same specs as its U.S. only counterpart - a 6" diagonal E Ink® anti-glare display, slimline 8" x 5.3" x 0.36" footprint, 2GB internal memory (1.4GB of which is available for user content - that's enough for 1,500 books) and a weight of just 10.2 ounces (0.29kg).
The Kindle charges by USB 2.0 or from a power outlet in around four hours. A full battery will deliver up to four days up-time with the wireless function switched on, and up to two weeks reading with wireless off according to Amazon.
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The attraction of the Kindle is that after the initial purchase there are no mobile phone-like contracts, just the purchase price of the book (best sellers and new releases cost around US$10). It can download books by 3G or 2G networks (or via the USB connection) and can snaffle a book in under 60 seconds from the current database of over 280,000 English-language titles - though the international offering is reportedly smaller at around 200,000. Newspapers and magazines are also available for download.
The new international version uses AT&T's network in the U.S. and partner networks elsewhere.
Amazon has also dropped the price of the U.S. Kindle from US$299 to $259. The product shipped for US$359 when it was released in February, so as always, early adopters paid a premium.
The Kindle with Global Wireless ships on October 19.