In the USA Amazon’s electronic book device, the Kindle, has been around for a while and the fact that the US site recently announced it was selling more digital books than hardbacks suggests the concept has taken off well the other side of the Atlantic. Yet until now, the Kindle has only been available in the UK by shipping it over the water .

With the launch of Apple’s i-Pad and a swell of touchscreens to follow many have been predicting that it is too late for Kindle now to make an impact in the UK. But is it? Amazon have resisted calls to make the gadget touchscreen, are proud of its claim of ‘one month’ battery life and have always only ever marketed it as an e-reader.

Yet, the first UK Kindle’s being despatched this time next month might just lead a revolution. The Kindle is no longer an e-books-only device. The Kindle will launch in two formats at the start of September. The basic version boasts WiFi as a way of downloading e-books, while the premier version is smaller, faster and lighter and also boasts Free 3G wireless that works globally. It’s portability and global appeal makes it the perfect travel partner. There is also now an experimental web browser integrated and since the publication of the Kindle Development Kit (KDK) developers have also begin developing adds-ons. The first two Kindle-ready games have been launched this week.

Both the games are not too dissimilar to free smartphone applications and both word games, appealing to the market of likely Kindle owners. Both free, they are set to be pioneers in a new set of apps to be developed that Amazon is now promoting. Amazon is working with select devs on a limited basis and has not yet released the KDK to all, but expect that to change once the e-reader is on wider release.

So we can see the appeal for the widely-read traveller but having yet to see one in person will reserve judgment as to how successful it will be.

Are you contemplating buying a Kindle? Do you think the touchpads have killed it off before it can get started?

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  • Andrew Strachan

    I’ve been considering an iPad for a while, mainly for ease of reading pdf e-books as opposed to either printing them out or struggling with them through an iPod Touch. I felt that even with the entry level iPad it’s hard to justify the price-tag to only use it as a very expensive e-book reader and handheld web browser.

    The Kindle from Amazon might just fill that need but I’d agree that I’d also need to see one up close to make my mind up one way or another.

    August 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm