Kindle 2 and the Disruptive Force

Kindle goes international. The new international model seems to use now 3G instead of EVDO, which is a big step forward.

As much as Apple was possible to roll out the App Store by first building up a global app distribution and payment collection mechanism, Amazon seems to have talked mobile operators well into buying their ideas. If it's as promised that it's a subscription-less roaming device (even if the usage fee is actually included in the book price), it's still a huge improvement over some of the last barriers of mobile communication. This probably also raises the bar for Apple, considering Apple is now a handset manufacturer, which has certain constraints when talking to mobile operators.

The implication could be huge. For example, Amazon can have huge leverage over many local markets (it doesn't even have to sell physical books there now—just like Apple doesn't have to have iTunes Music Store everywhere to have a say in a market). Another possibility is when/if Amazon combines its already leading role in providing cloud computing utilities, and comes up with a business platform. An e-ink reader, a mobile device, an internet communicator—companies like Bloomberg or big banks might be highly interested in turning that into a great transaction device, who knows1.

Then there are books, and for now it's still about books. There is already much written about it. I'm happy with my Kindle 2 as it is now—although I do envy friends who use their DX to read journals and papers. The publishing industry is transforming in a pace faster than people would have imagined a year ago. Let's see what goes with it and what will be born, or reborn, out of this great disruptive, if not destructive, force.

  1. From a software developer's perspective though, Amazon doesn't seem enthusiastic in turning Kindle into a platform. No word was given when iPhone first launched in 2007, but Apple has always been a company that relies on developers. On the other hand, there are already many Kindle hacks on the potential and limits of Kindle as it is now. Amazon probably also has a different set of software development in mind, such as non-native, out-of-device, server-served applications, much like their own store on Kindle now.