Feeds

UK to get Kindle in Christmas stocking?

Just needs a network, publisher agreements and a SIM card

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Amazon's Kindle e-book reader will apparently be launched in the UK by Christmas, complete with a virtual network operator and GSM compatibility.

The news comes from Mobile Today, who reckon Amazon is about to finalise a launch date, but has been having trouble finding a network operator prepared to host the Kindle's Whispernet connections which make the device so unique in the marketplace.

Whispernet is basically a mobile phone connection, data only, via which the Kindle downloads electronic magazines and books - but the existing Kindle models are using Sprint's US network, which is CDMA-based. Kindle users know nothing about that, of course; Amazon pays Sprint and the user just pays for the books or periodicals to which they've subscribed.

In Europe all our mobile phones use GSM technology, so an existing Kindle simply won't work on this side of the pond, which is why we haven't seen it until now despite vague statements from Amazon about European aspirations.

Getting GSM connectivity into the Kindle isn't trivial, but Mobile Today suggests that Qualcomm is directly involved in the production of a UK model of the Kindle. Qualcomm already runs the back end for Whispernet in the US, including handling the billing between Amazon and Sprint, but the company also has its Gobi chipset - a single chipset that can support both CDMA and GSM technologies, including 3G, and could enable a cross-Atlantic Kindle to exist.

Then there's the question of the SIM: all GSM devices have a removable SIM, but getting one into the Kindle would mean a changed industrial design (which would be expensive) and increased complexity. In the USA T-Mobile has been talking about embedding SIMs into GSM devices, tying them permanently to one network and one number, but such a device would not be considered "GSM Compatible" in Europe - though the rules could probably be bent if necessary.

Amazon would certainly like to see the Kindle on UK shelves, and if it can get a GSM variant built then there's no technical reason why it shouldn't, but using Qualcomm's Gobi would give it a single model that could be used around the world, and perhaps even on US networks other than Sprint. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.