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Amazon launches Kindle tablets & e-book readers in India; offering free e-books for next 2 weeks

Last week, Amazon Seller Services Pvt Ltd, part of the world's largest e-commerce firm Amazon.com, launched its marketplace in India at Amazon.in. The firm started by launching just two product sections – books and movies & TV shows. In the books' section, it is offering over 7 million printed books across 200-plus categories.

The company has now officially launched its Kindle tablets and e-book readers in India (note that the e-book readers have already been available in a number of offline stores for a while now). The devices launched in the country include Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, both e-book readers, as well as Kindle Fire HD 7 and Kindle Fire HD 8.9 tablets.

While Kindle is now available for purchase, the other three devices will be available from June 27. Customers can either buy the devices from the Amazon site (the devices are being sold by Cromaretail and fulfilled by Amazon) or from retailers like Croma, Reliance Digital Retail and Pantaloon Retail India. Here are the prices of the devices:

Kindle: Rs 5,999

Kindle Paperwhite (Wi-Fi only): Rs 10,999

Kindle Paperwhite (Wi-Fi + 3G): Rs 13,999

Kindle Fire HD 7: Rs 15,999 (16 GB) and Rs 18,999 (32 GB)

Kindle Fire HD 8.9: Rs 21,999 (16 GB) and Rs 25,999 (32 GB)

Here is a quick look at the specifications of the tablets.

Kindle Fire HD 7

fire-7The tablet has a 7 inch HD LCD IPS touchscreen display (1280×800 pixel resolution) and runs on an Android OS, especially customised for the Tablet (same goes for the entire Fire HD family). The tablet is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core OMAP4460 processor and users will have a choice between 16 GB and 32 GB of internal memory.

The tablet has a front-facing HD camera for video calling and on the connectivity front, it comes with Wi-Fi (with Wi-Fi Hotspot) and also has a microUSB port and a microHDMI port. The dimensions are 193 mm x 137 mm x 10.3 mm and it weighs 395 gm. The company claims that the tablet will provide up to 11 hours of battery life and can be fully charged within 4 hours. For enhanced sound, the company has also provided Dolby Audio dual-driver stereo speakers.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9

fire-8.9The biggest member of the Fire HD family, the tablet sports an 8.9 inch HD LCD IPS touchscreen display (1920×1200 pixel resolution) and is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core OMAP4470 processor. It is available with 16 GB and 32 GB of internal memory.

It also features a front-facing HD camera for video calling and on the connectivity front, it has Wi-Fi (with Wi-Fi Hotspot), along with a microUSB port and a microHDMI port. The dimensions of the device are 240 mm x 164 mm x 8.8 mm, and it weighs 567 gm. The company claims that the tablet will provide up to 10 hours of battery life and it has also provided Dolby Audio dual stereo speakers for better quality sound.

Kindle Paperwhite

paperwhiteThe Kindle Paperwhite also comes with built-in dictionaries for instantly looking up words, real page numbers, support for bookmarks & annotations and more. It has 62 per cent more pixels and 25 per cent increased contrast, a patented built-in front light for reading in all lighting conditions, extra-long battery life, as well as a thin and light design. Each Kindle also offers a number of font styles and sizes, so that you can customise your reading experience.

Customers' Kindle books are automatically backed up in the cloud, so that they can re-download their books wirelessly for free. Additionally, Amazon's Whispersync technology synchronises one's last page read, bookmarks and annotations across all their devices (including any Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Android devices, Mac and PC) – so that he can always pick up where he left off.

Free 3G?

Amazon will also provide Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi+3G with a free 3G connection, which means you need not pay for Wi-Fi and can simply download and read books anytime and anywhere. While the company will pay for the 3G connection (so that customers pay no monthly fees or annual contracts), we are not sure with which telecom operator the company has tied up and how this will work.

India Kindle Store

The company already has an India Kindle Store (launched in August 2012) on Amazon.com that offers e-books for purchase in Indian currency. According to the company, the store currently has over 1.7 million books from several renowned Indian authors such as Amish Tripathi, APJ Abdul Kalam, Robin Sharma, Rashmi Bansal and Chetan Bhagat.

While 6 lakh books are priced Rs 200 or less, the rest are priced at Rs 600 or less. The company claims that readers will also find over 325,000 Kindle-exclusive titles that they won't find anywhere else, including books by authors such as Anuj Dhar, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen Covey, Andy Borowitz and Karen McQuestion, among others. Starting today and for the next two weeks, Indian users can also download one Kindle Book daily for free. Today's free e-book is Thundergod: The Ascendance of Indra by Rajiv Menon.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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