Amazon Kindle goes global

The Kindle e-book reader is opening its wireless network to more than 100 countries around the world. Will it be enough?

In a sign that the market for e-book readers is still heating up, Amazon has announced that a new global Kindle reader will now support AT&T's wireless GSM network in more than 100 countries worldwide. This latest Kindle will retail for $279. Amazon has also knocked another $40 off the price of its U.S.-only Kindle (which uses Sprint's CDMA network) to $259.

If Amazon manages its inventory this year, the Kindle could be a huge seller for the holidays both in the United States and internationally.  It's now getting to the price point where it becomes, if not an impulse buy, at least something that goes beyond dedicated gadget fans.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Why did Amazon open-source its Kindle software? | Keep up with the latest open source news with InfoWorld's open source newsletter and topic center. ]

While Apple and Microsoft are expected to enter into the tablet market in 2010 with general-purpose devices, there isn't much competition at the moment for the Kindle other than Sony. And with Amazon continuing to make incremental improvements like the larger DX and international support, it seems unlikely that anything but a radical new device will slow them down.

I have no doubt that day is coming. It will be interesting to see whether Amazon gets more radical in the new year.

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