To celebrate the sudden outbreak of crystalline precipitation currently falling on Britain, Amazon.com has announced it'll now ship an international version of its massive, designed-for-newspapers-and-textbooks Kindle to the UK -- the Kindle DX.
In principle it's the same as the standard Kindle (which we reviewed late last year), but features a larger 246mm (9.7-inch) E-Ink screen. "Kindle DX is great for personal and professional documents, cookbooks and textbooks -- anything that is highly formatted," Amazon says.
It also now supports Adobe PDF files natively (Kindles previously needed to have these converted to a format it liked), so pre-formatted pages of text, images and diagrams involve significantly less messing about. Up to 3,500 books can be stored in memory, Amazon claims, and the battery should let you read for a full week without charging.
The Kindle DX for UK features the same built-in wireless bookstore as the standard Kindle, including free wireless downloads via the device's integrated 3G modem. Its screen -- which only requires power to turn pages, not to keep displaying them -- can generate 16 shades of grey. Sony's Readers, by contrast (ha), use just eight. This means images look far better on Kindles.
But here's where we stop a moment and raise the old eyebrow. Because Amazon only ships the model from the US, you have to pay an "import deposit" of $89 -- up front -- on top of the $489 base price for the Kindle DX. We don't know if this covers VAT and import duty -- it's about 18 per cent of the total -- but we'll try to find out.
Add on another $20.98 for delivery, and you get an overall cost of a notch under $600 (£375). Blimey.
Pre-ordering is available from today, and shipping begins on 19 January. Question is, are you prepared to spend the best part of £400 for a massive ebook reader?
Us? We don't think anyone should buy an ebook reader yet at all.