The article by Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar, about his cousin Martin do Nascimento's use of a Kindle to keep in touch, doesn't make clear that it's the Keyboard version (UK: KK-3G) rather than the Touch version of the Kindle. The old keyboard version's 3G can be used in about 60 countries for things like very slow web browsing and e-mail.
So, I did want to clear that up while also linking to the story, as it's a good example of what Amazon has kept available in the slower keyboard Kindle3 e-reader (and 9.7" DX) since 2009 when they first allowed Kindles to access 3G in the rest of the world (where it is available with Amazon's carrier agreements) for more than downloading Kindle books or accessing Wikipedia at no add'l cost.
Besides the usual (for Amazon) free cellular network usable for 3G Kindle books downloading that is so convenient when you don't have to go look for WiFi (something Penguin Group found too convenient for public library borrowing), the free Wikipedia access is still part of the newer Kindle Touch models as well -- and 24/7 free 3G access to Wikipedia can be very useful for students and other curious people.
However, 'Touch' can definitely be more 'cool' than a not-easily-used physical flat-keyed keyboard and a 5-way button for up/down/sideways.
But the special 3G e-mail and web capability featured in the story is available only on the old Kindle 3G keyboard model. It's clunky but it works.
'...this little, relatively cheap device has been a godsend for him in 2012, with its worldwide 3G Internet. Even though Martin lives in a remote area, I hear from him nearly every day by e-mail.Farivar mentions he can't gift his cousin in Nicaragua a Kindle book because e-mail attachments are not possible, and I think that the Kindle book-gifting feature isn't available for people currently located outside the U.S. (due to world-wide digital rights problems).
"Most of my e-mails I write on my Kindle," he told me recently (by cell phone this time). "I use it to stay in touch with friends, even [through] Facebook. The Kindle’s not fantastic by any means, but I can read my e-mail reliably... '
He does mention the battery life being excellent and we've seen this in events such as earthquakes or other disasters when smartphones had short lives and some were able to get through with their longer-battery-lived Kindle keyboards instead.
The article is about how to keep in touch when away, generally, so there are tips for iPhone user and Android handset users too, with software recommendations and a unique website for paid text-to-email service recommended if necessary. The image they use for the article is of someone using an iPhone but I linked to their article and included a smaller version of the image they are using. It's so much nicer than seeing yet another image of a gadget! ;-)
I have an ongoing article about the countries in which this feature works for the Kindle Keyboard (K3) model, and the countries-table highlighted is used by Amazon UK on their website to make it more clear for their own customers (the table applies to Amazon in general).
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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