Arguably, one of the biggest things holding back the success of the Amazon Kindle is its reliance on that CDMA-based “WhisperNet” connection. As soon you leave the United States, the wireless capabilities are basically useless. Well, that’s all about to change, because they have just revealed the new Amazon Kindle: US & International Wireless edition.
Yes, that’s a terrible name, but it’s reasonably descriptive. Instead of backpacking on a US-based CDMA connection with no roaming capabilities, the new US & International Edition Kindle comes equipped with a SIM card from AT&T. That means that this is a GSM Kindle.
While within the United States, this alternate Kindle (which is aesthetically and functionally identical to the Kindle 2) will latch onto the AT&T network and download your content at will. While traveling abroad (and this includes Canada), the Kindle can then roam on a GSM network and download stuff that way.
Amazon is saying that the International GSM Kindle will work in 100 countries and territories around the world. That’s the good news. The bad news is that each book you buy while traveling internationally will come with a $1.99 premium above and beyond the price of the book itself. What I’m wondering is if you can plunk in your own international SIM card, say from Fido or Rogers, when you’re outside of the States.
The new Kindle US & International Wireless will go on sale October 19 for $279. The regular Kindle 2 (US Wireless) is a little cheaper at $259.