Amazon.com announced new Kindle models overnight, including the Paperwhite and an upgraded Kindle Fire. Annoyingly, just one of those models -- the slightly-upgraded but still basic entry-level 6-inch black and white Kindle -- can be shipped to an Australian address.
The key enhancements are a claimed 15 per cent improvement in page turning speed and revamped fonts which are darker and easier to read. The list price for the new model is $US89; with shipping and currency conversion, that works out at $102.60 -- much cheaper than we've seen the device here before. Pre-orders will be shipped from September 12.
Big W and Dick Smith are still selling older Kindle models in local stores, but at $139 for the basic 6-inch, it's hard to see why you wouldn't go straight to the source and get a newer version. Those stores are the only source for the keyboard, Touch and 3G models of the Kindle for Australia right now.
There are ways of working around the restrictions (getting one sent to a friend, using a shipping service or a US hotel when you're visiting), but they're less convenient than an officially supported Kindle. The first generation of Kindle Fire never got an Australian release; no evidence yet of whether that will change over time with the new models. We've been several generations behind ever since the Kindle first became officially available in Australia, and that pattern doesn't seem to be changing. Perhaps Kobo's renewed push into the local market will force Amazon.com to work a bit harder on what we get down under.