Amazon says a new version of the Kindle e-book reader will overcome the limitations of its predecessors, offering users the ability to download books wirelessly both within and outside the United States.
Previous Kindle versions could download e-books only within the United States, as they were limited by the reach of the Sprint network, which is incompatible with most wireless networks outside of North America. The new Kindle will be supported by the wireless networks of AT&T and its global roaming partners, which means it will be able download e-books wirelessly in more than 100 countries.
The new Kindle model will launch on Oct. 19 for a suggested retail price of $279. Amazon has cut the price of the domestic-only Kindle, which sold for $299, to $259.
“These are smart moves for Amazon, as a good proportion of early Kindle adopters have been business travelers, who were frustrated by the inability to download new books outside the country,” says Larry Fisher, research director of NextGen Research, ABI Research’s emerging technologies arm, in a press release.
“It also opens up the rest of the world as potential markets for Amazon and the Kindle, at a time when competing e-book readers have been trying to make the transition from other countries to the U.S. market.”
NextGen Research, in its study “e-Book Readers and Electronic Paper: Digital Content and Display Technologies Kindle New Markets,” projects the global market for e-paper displays will grow at the compound annual growth rate of 124 percent from 2008 through 2013 and will exceed $2.5 billion by the end of that period.
According to the report, the United States currently constitutes fully 80 percent of this market, but increasing use of e-paper in other parts of the world will reduce the U.S. share of the market to about 55 percent by the end of the forecast period.