kindlevoyage

Amazon has released the Kindle Voyage, the 7th generation of its Kindle tablet, in India. As a norm, the tablet will be available at Amazon.in and with 350 offline stores across the country. The tablet was launched in the US, in September last year.

The new Kindle Voyage is priced at Rs 16,499 and claims to have a new Paperwhite display and better resolution, contrast and brightness than the previous Kindles. The device features a 6” display @330 ppi and has 4GB of onboard memory. The company claims the Kindle can last up to six weeks on a single charge based on a half hour of everyday reading, Wifi off and light setting at 10.

The new Kindle features an interesting force sensor under the bezel that can detect pressure from a user’s thumbs to turn through pages. This sensor can be customized to the amount of pressure it will respond to, and how much haptic feedback it will provide on a page turn. The device supports popular book formats like txt, pdfs and MOBI files other than its proprietary AZW3 and AZW formats.

Amazon also mentions that the new Kindle will come with free 3G, which it claims can be used in over 100 countries around the globe. The company pays for the connection; however it is not clear which services, if any, other than Amazon’s own will be accessible over this connection. Additionally, the 3G version of the Kindle costs a little more at Rs 20,499.

Overall, the device is pretty neat for reading on the go, although the inability to display colour is a bummer for those wanting to read graphic novels or magazines. Another issue with the Kindle is that its predecessors are available for cheaper, with very little differentiation, especially given that these devices will be used exclusively for reading. The previous Kindle, the Paperwhite, currently sells for Rs 10,999, while its ancient e-reader which does the job equally well, is priced at a mere Rs 4,999.

In July last year, in a possible bid to push the sales of its Kindle e-book readers, Amazon had introduced a new trial offer on Kindles which allows consumers to purchase them from Amazon.in, use it for two weeks and then return it for a full refund, if they are not satisfied enough. We are not quite sure how this move worked out for the company as the offer is unavailable now.

Amazon Prime: Earlier in January, Amazon said it would offer music and video streaming services later this year in India. The report added that the company would also roll out its Prime service to India, but was yet to  appoint an executive for its roll out. Note that memberships for Amazon’s subscription service Prime grew 53% year-on-year (YoY) in Q4 2014 globally.

Incidentally, in May last year, Amazon India’s rival Flipkart launched an annual subscription service similar to Prime called Flipkart First which offered customers same day delivery, free shipping, 60-day replacement guarantee and priority customer service.

Other developments:

– Amazon India launched a musical instruments & professional audio equipment store, an office & stationery supplies store, and a precious jewellery store in November and December last year. The online marketplace had also partnered with the Label Corp to sell the latter’s collections from thetrunklabel.com and theclosetlabel.com on its platform around the same time.

– In December, Amazon India & Microsoft tied-up to launched an online branded store. This store features the full range of Microsoft products, including the Lumia and Nokia mobile devices, Windows phones and tablets, Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles, games and accessories, software and other accessories.

– Earlier this month, IRCTC tied up with Amazon to sell products to IRCTC customers. However, the products are not sold on IRCTC’s website, instead clicking on ‘Shop by Amazon’ redirects users to Amazon.in, with an additional IRCTC logo on it, which was pretty strange for a tie-up.

Image source: Flickr user bfishadow