The Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G have begun to make their way to customers outside the US a full week ahead of schedule. Some may already have them in hand. The company mentioned on Friday that they had begun sending out the new Kindles for pre-order customers. Shipments are being mailed in the order those pre-orders were received.
The enthusiasm from customers outside the US has apparently exceeded expectations by quite a bit. Since there has already been a well observed secondary market for Kindle re-sales emerging in areas that did not have access to the device previously, this could indicate a more active expansion on the international scale than we have seen so far. Much of that will depend on how much ongoing popularity the Kindle enjoys now that it is past the pre-order stage, but it’s safe to say that Amazon will expand to pretty much any area they see the potential for profit in.
At the moment the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G are, as Amazon claims, the only more or less globally available eReader in the price range to offer such a wide range of features. While some of them are not fully functional in all circumstances yet, such as the newly introduced translation ability from the last firmware update, the important parts are all still there. Users will still be able to enjoy the high contrast E Ink screen, two month battery life, and all the other basic eReading functions that we’ve come to expect even in cases where the more creative new abilities have not quite become available. On top of that, the optional 3G connectivity will work all over the world and remains free of monthly charges no matter where you’re ordering from.
So far we have no word on the possible international release of the Kindle Fire media tablet. Surely there will be some effort to bring this branch of the Kindle line to a wider audience at some point in the relatively near future, but it could be a complicated enough problem to work through that delays until the next generation of the product would not be surprising. If nothing else, securing rights to media streaming over a variety of different media forms will tend to involve time-consuming negotiations of a sort that many publishers don’t want to be in with Amazon given their recent tactics.
Check back here for more information on Kindle Fire international release schedules, tech specs for the Kindle Fire 2, and generally anything Kindle related that I can come up with. There should be no shortage of such information over the next several months.