Amazon Wednesday confirmed that the Kindle DX, the large-size version of its popular Kindle, will begin selling outside the U.S. later this month.
A new version of the DX called the Kindle DX with Global Wireless will be made available in more than 100 countries for $489, Amazon said, and the current, U.S.-only Kindle DX will be discontinued. Kindle DX with Global Wireless is available to order Wednesday and will begin shipping on Jan. 19.
The move helps Amazon broaden the reach of its Kindle brand just as rival e-readers like Barnes & Noble's Nook and various devices from Sony aim to take big bites out of Amazon's commanding e-reader market share in 2010.
"Now Kindle DX with Global Wireless lets customers enjoy the ease of Whispernet wireless delivery of books, newspapers, magazines, blogs and documents while traveling in over 100 countries worldwide," said Ian Freed, Amazon.com vice president, Amazon Kindle, in a statement.
The Kindle DX, which has a 9.7-inch display and 3.3 GB of available memory and can hold about 3,500 books, debuted in the U.S. last May. It came three months after Amazon updated its original Kindle as the Kindle 2 -- a milestone largely credited with thrusting e-readers into the mainstream and intensifying the competitive landscape around e-readers and e-books.
Amazon made Kindle 2 available for $279 in an international version, titled the Kindle with U.S. & International Wireless, in October. The Kindle DX, like the Kindle, will be available in the same countries as the Kindle 2 but also unavailable in markets like China, where according to Amazon, it is unable to yet offer Kindle content.
Amazon said in December that customers bought more titles for Kindle than they did paper books for the holiday season. The company remains tight-lipped about actual sales numbers for its Kindle and Kindle DX, but according to most e-reader market analysts Amazon exited 2009 with a 60 percent market share for e-readers in the U.S.
The availability of its products -- and some stumbles from Barnes & Noble and Sony, which couldn't meet inventory demands for the Nook or Daily Edition readers, respectively, in December -- have helped it stay ahead of the range of potential "Kindle killers."
But Amazon may face its biggest e-reader challenge yet in Apple, whose long-rumored and reportedly close-to-launch tablet has supposedly lined up publishers for an e-reading push.