Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kindle Myths from news websites, No. 1

For weeks, I have seen gadget- or ereader-info sites parroting one another with inaccuracies such as actually writing that the Kindle does not allow the Kindle-user to go anywhere but to the Amazon store.
  It's not just one or two that write this, but site after site that repeats this erroneous info or writes that the Sony-store-only wireless for the coming Sony PRS-2121 will do what the Kindle wireless feature does.

  The sites I most enjoy because they are more thorough than that are Wired, Engadget, and Boy Genius.

  When a site has deleted a Comment of mine that lets them know something stated isn't actually so (quite often) and when they are holding current notes which means current readers won't see that their info is wrong, I will post some of these here.  Eventually and people looking for information on what the Kindle wireless does involve will be able to find the information then.

UPDATE: Allie Vance, noted below, re-posted an article by Shawn Oliver  (See Comments to this blog entry) but the comment I submitted to their comment box was "pending moderation."  I've since reposted the note to Shawn Oliver at and reworded the below.

Last night, someone on Twitter pointed us to's article, a re-posting by Allie Vance, commenting on In-Stat's much-distributed article that reported that

"...current e-book owners desire email capability in the next e-book they purchase.  Longer battery life and Internet connectivity are the top two desired features among respondents who don’t currently own an e-book but plan to buy one in the next year.

Yes, I can see that.  But then the article actually says the following
' ...but by and large, today’s batch of readers only feature a few (or one) of those, and not all three.
  Take the market-leading Kindle for example.  It has integrated WWAN through Sprint, but that only enables users to download new books on the go.  Users can’t check their e-mail or surf the Web, which is evidently a real bummer to most.
  Could anything be less true? -- that the Kindle can't surf the web or allow you to check your email?  Countless Kindle forum threads include discussions on what sites Kindle users can access and how that can be very helpful when you're not at home.  I have a freely-downloadable file of mobile-optimized websites to surf more quickly.

  I also have tips on using the web browser's various modes to help the loading speed or readability of the sites.  Never mind that Amazon itself puts a pre-set bunch of web-bookmarks on for Kindle users to try.
  But cellular wireless access will be slow, and the Kindle web access is definitely for the patient.  It pays off for some of us info-grabbers on the go though.

That this comes with no monthly charges for now is just another plus, and Jeff Bezos has said it is a reason he set the price of the Kindle higher instead of locking people into a 2-year monthly fee on top of the unit, as is done with cell phones.
  The high cost of wireless is why the other readers don't and won't, for some time, be including web-browsing access in their e-readers as part of the cost -- not iRex at $800++, not Plastic Logic at $600-$800 as expected, and not Sony readers, including the Daily Edition due in December.

which shows "No Comments" currently.   [Update: 9:57 PM - it was deleted.]
" Andrys says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
September 16, 2009 at 4:36 am

Well, the Kindles, starting with Kindle 1 all have web browsers, though it’s impossibly slow on the Kindle 1. It is very doable on the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX and I do email on it and browse all kinds of sites to look up things when out on the streets. See some web images from my DX at

I also have tips and guides for using the web browser in more speedy fashion (it’s 24/7 free cellular access) and I use it for lookups in stores, in concerts, hearings).  Email is slow going with GMail but it’s doable and I also check yahoo mail.

On the Kindle two, I show some time with Facebook and with the Amazon forums,

Forgive the links, but since you mentioned these are wanted items but the Kindle doesn’t allow it, I needed to let you know it very much does. I also have a file for accessing mobile-optimized sites but you’ll see what I could get with the normal webpage of Engadget at the first link above.

– Andrys
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  1. A nitpick: the zikkir site is not the originator of the story you are referring to. Zikkir is apparently just aggregating stories on their site. The site that actually wrote the article which was written by Shawn Oliver is:

    If you look at the bottom of the story on the zikkir site just above the comments area you'll see the original author and a link to the site/story. There were a few comments on the site but surprisingly none of them called out the author on his false statement re the Kindle.

    === love your site btw!

  2. Anonymous,
    Thanks! There's a name attached to the person who posted it and, curiously, they include a working Comment box.

    Although my comment-post was noted as "awaiting moderation" (as captured), now it no longer shows me what I sent although the comment was still (re)appearing a couple of hours ago and still showing "pending moderation."
    Strange site.

    I re-posted the note to Shawn after a slow registration-confirmation process, and he seems to reply to comments. It WAS odd to see not one person who mentioned the Kindle's experimental web browser that's been used and improved over 2 years now.

    Thanks very much for the heads-up on my missing the bottom link - and for the generous words!

  3. Thanks for the info. The cust serv rep at Amazon told me over the phone that I could not surf the web on my new Kindle that arrived in the mail today. She said that if I wanted to surf the web I would have to get an IPAD for that. Anyway, she clearly did not know the full capabilities of this device. I was disappointed all day that I could not at least check my email once in a while. Now I know that I can. Is there any way to download a PDF file from gmail onto the kindle wirelessly without paying a "small fee" to amazon?

  4. Anonymous,
    You didn't say where you are. Some countries have product pages that don't yet officially show web browsing available, so they have to follow that.

    But if she didn't didn't even know about the experimental web browser at all, that's pretty bad.
    The countries that don't officially show availability of Experimental Basic Web browser yet are Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden, though people are reporting full web access from those countries despite that. 52 other countries, besides the first 4 that started last October, are officially enabled, per the product pages, at least.

    No, PDF files have a tendency to be very large so they don't enable downloads to the Kindle for that. It could mean tremendous use of Whispernet.

    Yes, you just download it to your computer and move it to the Kindle 'documents' folder after hooking up your computer via the USB cord that is part of your power cord.

    Sometimes, if it's under a meg, I just go ahead and have Amazon do it over the air for 15c.

  5. please can anyone tell me if I can get web browsing in Austria with the kindle 3g. I want to be able to check gmail specifically. tHERE IS DEFINITELY 3G COVERAGE WHERE I AM GOING BUT SEEMS TO BE SOME AMBIGUITY AS TO WHETHER YOU CAN BROWSE AT ALL OR IF ITS BLOCKED, THANKS

  6. Anonymous,

    Austria is a country which apparently does not have low-cost 3G carrier arrangements with Amazon, so Austrian RESIDENTS use the 3G for book downloads and the store, and for whatever subscriptions are available but it's NOT activated for free 3G web browsing for residnets, according to the Amazon UK table on its pages, which matches everything I've learned about this.

    If you're a U.S. resident and traveling in Austria, then you can use the free 3G browsing there while visiting. UK residents can also use the free 3G web browsing when traveling, where 3G is available at all. I say this only from what I've read. Can't speak for Amazon, but you see their table on the page I link you to. Amazon UK has a long message thread about where they can use theirs as they travel around.


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