Today Amazon has made a number of announcements about the expansion of its operations in Australia, announcing that the Australian Kindle Store is now open, and that a range of hardware is now available in Australia both online and through retail partners.
Australian Kindle Store
Firstly on the Australian Kindle Store, over 2 million eBooks are on offer including 26,000 free English-language titles. A range of current best sellers in fiction, sports, cookbooks and even graphic novels are available. Over 700,000 books are priced at $3.99 or less, and 1.4 million are priced at $9.99 or less.
In news for independent publishers, they too will be able to sell their works on the Australian Kindle Store using Kindle Direct Publishing, and a 70% royalty is on offer. For more information check out the Kindle Direct Publishing site.
New Kindle Fire devices
The newly launched Kindle Fire HDX range gives you the basics including apps for email, calendar, Skype, Facebook and Twitter. The home screen is clearly geared towards eBook users, and naturally it connects directly with the Australian Kindle Store.
Hardware wise, Amazon has packed a quad-core 2.2 GHz processor into the magnesium body, and the 8.9-inch model even includes a flash with its 8MP camera. For a tablet, this is pretty impressive.
Other sources have had a hands-on with the HDX models and they report vivid, sharp displays, which Amazon claims dynamically adjusts not only brightness, but contrast for different lighting conditions.
The 323 ppi screen resolution for the 7-inch model and industry best 339 ppi for the 8.9- inch models will certainly leave other tablets in their dust. Apps reportedly open fast and the games look great, though I doubt anyone’s had time to get a proper feel for the claimed 11 hours of battery life.
Price for these two new tablets is on par with competitive compared to other high-end Androids. Looking at 16GB Wi-Fi versions, the 7-inch, 311g has a suggested price of $329, more expensive than Google’s Nexus 7, but much less than say the 7.9 inch, 331g Retina iPad mini at $479.
In the large tablet category, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 will be available for $479 from December 10, and is smaller than most competitors. It’s up against Android tablets such as Sony’s waterproof $539 10-inch 495g Xperia Tablet Z and Samsung’s stylus-equipped Note 10.1, which JB Hi-Fi is selling for $498.
One of the features Amazon has talked about is the MayDay function, which allows the users of these tablets to receive direct on-device support from an Amazon specialist. It is unclear whether this feature will be available in Australia, but if it is, this will doubtlessly be a hugely valuable selling point for less technically inclined audiences.
It is also worth nothing that Kindle Fire devices do not have access to the Google Play Store, instead accessing their apps from the Amazon Marketplace.
Last but not least, the Kindle Paperwhite will also be available through Big W and Sick Smith for $159, and like other Kindle products, it seamlessly integrates with the new Kindle Store.
With all these new products, are you minded to jump on board with a Kindle device?