It seems that an international launch might be just around the corner.
Yesterday, Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite went up for pre-order in the United States. Though the listing seemed to appear on Amazon.com somewhat prematurely (there was, after all, no official event or announcement), Amazon apparently decided to roll with it. However, the company is only taking pre-orders from shoppers in the United States. What about the rest of the world?
While Amazon is remaining tight-lipped on details of international availability, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca offer some clue that the arrival of Paperwhite 2.0 isn't too far off. A quick glance at the Paperwhite listings on both sites show that the WiFi-only version of the Paperwhite is currently unavailable in the UK and Canada. Under the 'currently unavailable' status message on Amazon UK is the disclaimer: "We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock." Amazon Canada invites users to sign up for updates on when the product might become available.
While it's not as good as a release date, it surely means that the new Paperwhite can't be that far off. The new model packs a higher contrast, a 25 percent faster processor and improved touch technology as well as some software improvements. These include Good Reads integration, which Amazon says is coming soon; Kindle FreeTime, which is aimed at getting kids reading more via a tracker and rewards system; and a new Page Flip feature that lets you skim page-by-page, scan by chapter, or skip to the end without losing your place. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any audio or text-to-speech, both of which were notably missing from the first Paperwhite. It also still has only 2 GB of storage, compared to the 4 GB of storage of other Kindle models.
We'll keep you posted on international pricing and release dates for the new Paperwhite. So far, only the U.S. is confirmed for the September 30 launch.