[ Original posting 6/21/2009 07:20:00 AM ]
At the Kindleboards forum a couple of days ago, I replied to a thread about the Kindle 2 web-browser and its usefulness, if any.
I thought I should post some of it here (reworded), as I'd never thought to use the Kindle 2 with the aim I had in mind the other night -- I've used it mainly to look for information. Here's the gist of what I wrote to the forum.
When web browsing (under "Home/Menu/Experimental"), you can press the Menu key to get the 'bookmarks' for the web, these are pre-set by Amazon for you and include news, sports, and entertainment sites.I do like that I was able to order my DX with my Kindle 2 :-)
I have a section called Tips for working with the Kindle web browser - because there are three different modes for webbing, and each of them brings a fairly different experience.
The Tips piece is at (shortcut) http://xrl.us/kindleweb
And there's a guide on bookmarks for small mobile-device-formatted websites as well.
I tend to like to use the web browser when out of the house - and I've seen that a few others on that forum do as well, when looking for good restaurants, etc. ( like http://m.yelp.com ). Amazon encourages us to use Google and Wikipedia, as you can see from the status bar options and the web bookmarks.
Here's a real life use with the web browser Wednesday night:
My cable high-speed internet connection went down just before I was going to order a Kindle DX and I was, at that point, bent on ordering one after mulling it for a week.
That my internet connection went down was probably a sign for me that I shouldn't order another Kindle, but I ignored it.
I got my Kindle 2 to Go To Comcast to look up the phone contact to get my cable probs reported. The K2 crashed momentarily at that point! :-) Another sign?
But it came right back, apparently refreshed, and with no assist from me. The Kindle 2 never balked again during the full session. I browsed back to Comcast, got the contact number, phoned, and found out that my entire neighborhood was down for Comcast high-speed Internet.
Here’s my path on the web with the small Kindle 2:
1. I went to the last website I had been on to read one more detail and then used one of the website links to start an order with the Kindle 2.
2. That took me to my Amazon account where I signed in.
3. I ordered the DX but then realized I should enter some gift codes that I had not put into the Amazon servers yet.
4. I then had the Kindle Go To gmail.com (leaving my Amazon order) and pulled up the codes from my gmail. Mobile gmail is not that intuitive, but key presses worked fine. I was able to retrieve the mail and the coupon codes.
7. Then I pressed the Kindle's Back button and was right back on the Amazon order again with all the field-info still filled in, so I typed in the codes.
9. I then chose my shipping, completed my order, and got confirmation on the screen.
I saw that my cable lights were blinking again so I went back to my pc and put my Kindle (which has a keyboard that one can't type fast on) to sleep.
On my computer I checked my recent orders and there it was. It’s not due to arrive until June 24. They're not in stock again until the 22nd or so.
That I had been able to get right back to my Amazon order, and that the fields were still filled in, surprised me. There were no memory problems for the Kindle after the initial 'crash' when first on the way to the Comcast page.
Reviewers who try the Kindle for a few hours and tell their readers that the web browser is not worth using are comparing it to their computers or laptops. Some barely try it or don't realize it can go beyond the 'company store.' The free web access is a very useful feature when you're not near your computers and it is much better than having to look for WiFi somewhere and hoping it doesn't cost too much.
Bezos is still saying (this week) that the wireless is free, and this statement is part of his marketing, including that it's a reason for the high cost for the Kindle in the first place (wireless costs built in).
While Amazon is free to charge later on for non-store use, their current advertising push ("free wireless" - including promises to partnering schools) makes it extremely unlikely that they would risk their credibility by beginning any charges for at least a year, especially since he has explained this last Monday at the Wired conference that they would have had to charge monthly fees for wireless if they had priced the Kindle devices lower. At any rate, it is Web access from anywhere you happen to be as long as there is Sprint cell phone service in the area.
To see how Kindle users are using their Kindles in some unexpected and creative ways, see this Amazon forum thread. The Kindleboards thread above also has some examples. The Kindle DX web-browser is said to be somewhat improved in functioning. I'm looking forward to the easier readability of full-width webpages after accessing these on the smaller Kindle 2 screen. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.
(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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