Amazon’s Kindle Hits the Philippines

kindle on the wsj

Now here’s a news graphic that made me sit up, take notice, grab my mobile, take a photo, and upload it to Twitpic. While waiting my turn at a waiting room, I was thumbing through today’s issue of the Asian Wall Street Journal and this photo of a bug-eyed Jeff Bezos of Amazon grabbed me.

pogipointsThe item talked about the availability of the so-called “International Kindle” in Asia, and listed a number of countries in the region.

Big surprise: The Philippines is listed. Along with other dubious “hotbeds of tech” like Bhutan, Laos, Mongolia, and Myanmar.

Not on the list are our ASEAN neighbors : Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. And while Australia makes the list, New Zealand is excluded.

Heck, in North America, Canadians won’t be able to order one.

I’m not going to scratch my head too long and worry about about Amazon’s criteria as long as I know that since I live in one of the lucky “preferred countries” and  if I really wanted one to curl up with a Kindle at the nearest Starbucks, I am now legally allowed to order it, have it shipped to my digs, and use it to download books wirelessly.

There are some questions about how Amazon’s Whispernet wireless service is going to work in the Philippines. As near as I can figure out while nosing around Amazon’s vague wireless terms of service, AT&T is their main GSM/HSDPA operator partner for this. So if you’re in the Philippines, you are going to get your 3G or 3.5G signal from an AT&T roaming partner.

I asked around if this was going to be SMART or Globe, and the answer appears to be that both are partners, so what operator you latch on to will depend on the Kindle’s druthers – unless there is a way to manually select a network.

The International Kindle goes on sale on October 19 for $279.

By the way, is it just me or does “Whispernet” sound like a lady thing?

9 thoughts on “Amazon’s Kindle Hits the Philippines

  1. Heh, Jim, a personal pet topic of mine.

    Been snooping around the forums at MobileRead for feedback on the international Kindle since the announcement.

    Downsides to the international version: books are generally $2 more expensive than the US store ($11.99 versus $9.99) and, due to publisher restrictions, there are over 100,000 books that won’t be available outside the US store (including, supposedly, Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol”)

    However, tons of people have been using US Kindles outside America for quite some time now – it’s all in the judicious use of Amazon electronic GCs and a VPN to “magically relocate” you for a few minutes, plus a USB connection to do all your transfers.

    And hey, bang for the back tip – if you aren’t going to need the international Whispernet anyway, refurbished 1st gen Kindle readers are only $150 on Amazon right now.

    In fact for me, the best part about the Amazon Kindle store is the content, not necessarily the device.

    If you’re an iPhone user that can snag a copy of the Kindle app off the US iTunes store, you don’t even need an actual Kindle – and now you can seamlessly use Whispernet not only over 3G, but WiFi as well. Not to mention the ability to read non-DRM ebooks (using Stanza), get many more blogs, news and feature articles synced to your device (using Instapaper) and view full resolution, full color PDFs (using GoodReader).

  2. coolness jim! i’ve had the kindle for iphone app for a few months now but just to read reviews; and clamored for the day we could buy the kbooks here. 10.19 is marked on my calendar – where do we line up to buy?

    btw, it’s not just you. i’ve often been sent to the ministop to pick up some whispernet – the model with wings and for heavy flows. is that like broadband??

  3. Having tried a DX, the 6″ International version is not so bad at all. I’ll probably get one before the year ends. Its more portable than the DX. I’ve been using the iPhone app for months and fairly satisfied with it, but the E Ink screen is definitely more friendly to the eyes.

    Yup International books costs $2 more but its still cheaper compared to a print book you get locally (I recently bought one for $8 when it sells for $15 for print locally), although there are some from the best-sellers list not included (yet).

  4. Retired in Cebu, my needs are completely different from those of everyone else here. I download all of my books free and they are mostly B&W pdf textbooks with diagrams and equations. So, the Kindle DX is useful to me only if these non-standard documents display clearly. Secondly, I want to be able to use WiFi to read some internet pages and send an occasional e-mail.

    Everything else is confusion and clutter to me. With no plans to ever buy a book, this Whispernet seems to be nothing but bloatware to me. Has anyone tested a Kindle DX in the Philippines to see if meets my two requirements? Also, I have spent hours trying to understand the IREX 1000 and it seems to be no better than the Kindle DX at twice to three times the price.

    1. Hey Steve, by now I have succumbed to the iPad hype and for reading PDFs (and CBRs and CBZs, the archive formats of digital comics) I will be looking forward to reading them there rather on a Kindle – however there will be a number of inexpensive ebook readers that read PDF just fine (Sony eBook readers come to mind). However, I will beg to differ with your reluctance to use Kindle book formats. One of the most attractive elements of the Kindle eco-system is that most books in the Amazon book store are available in Kindle format at a standard price of about $9.95 – while there are a number of PDF bootlegs free for the taking on Bit Torrent, I’ve found the Kindle bookstore a reasonably priced solution available on multiple platforms (windows, mac, iphone/ipod touch, kindle – I read my books on a mac reader) – certainly cheaper than the dead tree edition from Fully Booked, Powerbooks, or National Book Store. Kindle to me has become relevant as the eco-system of digital books rather than the e-book hardware itself.

  5. You can switch back and forth between reading and listening, and your spot is automatically saved. Pages automatically turn while the content is being read, so you can listen hands-free. You can choose from both male and female voices which can be sped up or slowed down to suit your preference. In the middle of a great book or article but have to jump in the car? Simply turn on Text-to-Speech and listen on the go.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s