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.
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.