Confusion reigned last night about a possible delay in the iPhone 4's release - but there was one bit of good gadget news.
Yesterday, Amazon previewed a new model of its Kindle ebook reader (pictured).
A Sydney-based rep for the company told NBR last night that the new model would be released in New Zealand (and 140 other countries) on August 27.
The new Kindle is the tablet's third major upgrade - but is known simply as "Kindle", not Kindle 3.
Previous Kindles have not been available for New Zealand, and those who've imported one themselves have required a US credit card to download Kindle format e-books from Amazon.
The Amazon rep said there was no New Zealand dollar pricing or shipping cost yet.
The US dollar price for the new model is $US189 ($NZ346) for the 3G version (which can download books via a cellular connection, thanks to its built in cellular radio), and $US139 ($181) for the wi-fi only version.
A few advantages over the Kobo
The basic model Kindle has the same size screen (six inches on the diagonal) as Whitcoulls recently released Kobo (the first ebook reader and dowload service to hit New Zealand), and the same matte e-ink greyscale display.
But Kindle enjoys several advantages, including better bookmarking, a physical keyboard for annotations, and a wider selection of ebook titles (assuming all are made available to New Zealanders). Plus, if you buy the 3G version, Amazon promises you'll be able to download any ebook, anywhere within cellular coverage, in around 30 seconds.
Vodafone to carry
Vodafone New Zealand will be the carrier for the 3G version of the Kindle.
Kindle ebook downloads via Vodafone's 3G network will be free, said the Amazon rep (or built into the cost of the ebook, depending on your point of view).
A spokesman for Vodafone NZ new nothing about the release (is anybody telling them anything these days?). But Amazon told NBR that Vodafone is definitely the one.
Most New Zealanders have never sighted a Kindle, but Americans and Australains will note the new model is 21% lighter than its predecessor.
It can also hold more ebooks now, too - 3500 or 2000 more than the previous entry-level model.
Room for Kobo
Whitcoulls Kobo platform retains two advantages.
One, the Kobo reader can display e-books and documents in multiple formats, including PDF and the open ePUB standard.
Two, the Kobo download service will deliver an e-book for mutliple platforms (including PC, iPhone, Android and iPad), not just the Kobo tablet. A Kindle reader is tied to Amazon's proprietary format.
What of iPad?
Apple's multipurpose iPad - with its colour, 10-inch screen - is regarded as a capable, if heavy (700g) ebook reader.
But the associated iBookstore download service is so far only available in the US.
At the iPad NZ launch last week, an Apple spokeswoman told NBR that there was no timeframe for expanding iBookstore outside North America.
MORE: pcworld.com preview
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