Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Two new Kindles due, one w/ WiFi only - also 2 UK-localized ones! UPDATE8

  Free 3G/WiFi - $189
    (White and Graphite)
   and WiFi-only - $139  (Graphite)

  (UK-only: Free 3G/Wifi - £149
   and WiFi Only - £109)

See also the later Unsung Features of the new Kindles.

Engadget, Bloomberg Businessweek, and many others announced news from a conference with Bezos the other day. Each news story has its own particulars from the story and I'll update this later with more details but give links for reading right now. Not due until August 27 but pre-orders are being taken, at the Kindle pages, some say, starting late tonight, others say starting tomorrow.

There'll be two new Kindles announced tomorrow, both smaller and slimmer. The WiFi only will be $139 and the replacement for Kindle 2 will be $189. They'll come in both Graphite and White.

Also check out the VIDEO on Engadget's page as well (and as usual there are many other pictures).

That's Engadget's header photo at the left:

Notice the SYM key is used for NUMBERS now. The symbols box will stay open while we type.
There's also an invisible combo-key method. See Numbers below.

Amazon opens UK store! on Aug. 27
' The new handheld -- slated to be released on August 27th -- is 21 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than the previous model, has a 20 percent faster refresh rate on its E Ink (yep, still E Ink) screen, and will now come in two colors (graphite, like its big brother the DX, and the original white).  In addition to the color changes, there will be two radio configurations available: a $139 WiFi only version, and a $189 WiFi/3G version (utilizing AT&T's network, just like the last model).  The screen will remain the same 6-inch size as the last two Kindles, though the company claims page turns are faster and contrast is improved. The internal storage on the device has been cranked to 4GB, and the battery life is now rated at a month with no wireless, and 10 days with wireless switched on.

The company also announced plans for a UK-localized version at £109 and £149, respectively, as well as a UK e-book store. '

Here's WSJ's story.

From same Engadget story linked above:
' The keyboard and five-way controls have been streamlined and altered slightly.  The rocker is now more compact and flush with the device, and the side buttons have been modified in length to emphasize the forward paddles, while the back buttons have been downsized.

  Software wise, there are some interesting new features, the most notable being the inclusion of an "experimental" Webkit-based browser.

[xabbott explains in Comments area that the older experimental browser used another methodology and that "Webkit on the other hand is what the iPhone, iPad, WebOS, Android, and a few other mobile/desktop browsers use. It's open source as well."

 The somewhat faster speed will be very welcome.  Will Amazon continue to offer 3G web browsing free if so?  Or might there be relatively inexpensive tiered plans.  They'll dominate the market if they can afford to continue to give "free" 3G for lighter, text-mainly use of it.   Read further for Bezos's disinterest in adding video and animation capablities at this point.]

If you're expect[ing] future iterations to go even bolder with their multimedia capabilities, we kindly direct you to some choice quotes by Amazon's Jeff Bezos care of WSJ: "For the vast majority of books, adding video and animation is not going to be helpful.  It is distracting rather than enhancing.  You are not going to improve Hemingway by adding video snippets," adding later, "there are going to be 100 companies making LCD [screen] tablets... why would we want to be 101? I like building a purpose-built reading device. I think that is where we can make a real contribution."

We had a chance to play with the device for a short while during a meeting with the company, and we can report that the Kindle is still very much the reading device you know and love (or hate, depending on your preferences).  The build quality and materials used did seem slightly more polished than the previous version, and we really liked the new, more subtle rocker.  We can also attest to screen refreshes and overall navigation feeling noticeably more responsive and snappy compared with the previous generation.

 Amazon was showing off a jacket accessory which will be made available at launch that includes a small, pull-out light for late-night reading sessions '

Note that besides the Numbers now being under the SYM key box (which will stay up while we type), that both sides will now have a Next/Previous button (the old K2 did not have 'Prev' on the right hand side) and that the HOME button is back where it was with the K1.  I was forever pressing the 'Home' button when wanting 'Prev' because of the DX placement. And that the Menu and Back buttons are now at the bottom again also. I find that less confusing.

UPDATE2 - CNET has a more detailed listing of features
Here is CNet's listing of features:
* 6-inch E-Ink display
* WiFi and 3G ($189), WiFi only ($139)
* 21 percent smaller than previous Kindle
* 15 percent lighter (8.7 ounces)
* Like the new Kindle DX, screen offers 50 percent better contrast
* 20 percent faster page turns, according to Amazon
* 4GB built-in memory [Similar to DX]
* Smaller page-turn buttons that are quieter (clicking noise is nearly silent)
* Up to four weeks of battery life from sealed-in battery (wireless turned off)
* New "experimental" WebKit-based browser (experimental). Amazon says the updated web browser is "faster, easier to navigate, and provides a new 'article mode' feature that simplifies web pages to just the main text-based content for easier reading." [That simplification will be great for Kindle Edition blogs when following links in stories.]
* Expanded text-speech options. New text-to-speech enabled menus allow you to navigate the Kindle without having to read menu options. You can not only listen to books aloud (certain ones, anyway) but content listings on the home screen, item descriptions, and all menu options. [Great for schools now.]
* Amazon says the new Kindle uses an improved built-in PDF reader, with new dictionary lookup, notes and highlights, and support for password protected PDFs. [No word yet on linked Table of Contents]
* No cover included but Amazon will sell two new covers, one of which has a built-in flip-out light for $59.99.

 See what else CNet has to say in its story after a brief time with the new Kindles.

UPDATE2 - Amazon adds details on features - from various pages.
Here are the ones not mentioned at length yet and maybe of interest to the detail-oriented:
'  . New Proprietary Screen Technology--Faster Page Turns, New and Improved Fonts:
  Kindle's all-new, high-contrast electronic ink display is further optimized with Amazon's proprietary waveform and font technology to make pages turn faster and fonts sharper. Waveform is a series of electronic pulses that move black and white electronic ink particles to achieve a final gray level for an image or text. Amazon tuned the new Kindle's waveform and controller mechanism to make page turning 20 percent faster.  In addition, this waveform tuning combined with new hand-built, custom fonts and font-hinting make words and letters more crisp, clear, and natural-looking.  Font hints are instructions, written as code, that control points on a font character's line and improve legibility at small font sizes where few pixels are available.  Hinting is a mix of aesthetic judgments and complicated technical strategies.  Amazon designed its proprietary font-hinting to optimize specifically for the special characteristics of electronic ink.

  . Up To One Month of Battery Life: The new Kindle has up to one month of battery life with wireless off. Keep wireless on and your Kindle will have battery life of up to 10 days. [The WiFi-Only model has somewhat shorter battery life.]

  . Free 3G Wireless: Kindle offers free 3G wireless, which means no annual contracts and no monthly fees.
    [I included this because they stress the 'free' and it's part of their marketing which they'll need to stand behind.]

  . New Built-in WiFi: [on both models].  Amazon is offering Kindle customers free Wi-Fi access at AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots across the U.S. for shopping and downloading Kindle content -- no AT&T registration, sign-in, or password required.

    [Can AT&T handle dependably all the new Apple and Amazon customers?  Will AT&T clamp down on 'Unlimited' as they did with Apple? - Probably not, as there'll be no video-taxing of their broadband by Amazon customers.]

  . Low Book Prices: Over 510,000 of the 630,000 books in the Kindle Store are $9.99 or less, including 80 New York Times Best Sellers. [Approximately 20,000 are free.]

  . Improved PDF Reader: The new Kindle uses an improved built-in PDF reader with new dictionary lookup, notes and highlights, and support for password protected PDFs.  [Search routine will still be the PDF one-at-a-time style, I guess.]

  . New WebKit-based Browser (experimental): The new Kindle uses a new web browser based on the industry-leading open source Web browser engine, WebKit.
 The updated browser is faster, easier to navigate, and provides a new "article mode" feature that simplifies web pages to just the main text-based content for easier reading.  Web browsing with Kindle over 3G or Wi-Fi is free.

  . New Voice Guide: With Text-to-Speech, Kindle can read out loud to you.  New Text-to-Speech enabled menus allow customers to navigate Kindle without having to read menu options.  In addition to listening to books aloud, users now have the option of listening to content listings on the home screen, item descriptions, and all menu options.

  [Best not to have a thousand+ books active if depending on listening to the Home screen content listings.  But we can use the first character of a title to go direct to a listing of  titles that start with that character.]

  . New Lighted Leather Cover: The all-new Kindle cover features an integrated, retractable reading light that lets you read comfortably anytime, anywhere.  The light is a permanent part of the cover, so it's always with you, and hides away into the cover when not in use.  The high-quality LED light illuminates Kindle's entire paper-like display, adding brightness without adding glare.  Amazon's patent-pending hinge system secures Kindle in place and conducts electricity from Kindle's battery to the reading light, eliminating the need for batteries.

    [That's quite an amazing feature if it works well.]

 The conductive hinges are gold-plated to ensure a reliable electrical connection.  Gold is used because of its ability to make good electrical contact even with low force and for its corrosion resistance.  The Kindle cover is sold separately. '

See User documentation page.
The PDF that you can read right now is at the top, and the .azw file is for your Kindle but can also be read on your Kindle for PC or Kindle for MAC and other apps while deciding or waiting for the new Kindle.

UPDATE4 - More info from the product page, not in PR list of features
  . Kindle now has three font styles to choose from - our standard Caecilia font, a condensed version of Caecilia, and a sans serif option - so you can change your font style along with the font size.

  . Support for New Characters
Kindle can now display Cyrillic (such as Russian), Japanese, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), and Korean characters in addition to Latin and Greek scripts.

    [That's HUGE.]

  . Precise 5-Way Controller [MORE precise, I imagine.]
Kindle has an easy-to-use 5-way controller, enabling precise on-screen navigation for selecting text to highlight or looking up words. No on-screen fingerprints.
    [That's Jeff Bezos explaining his current aversion to using the Touchscreen technology Amazon bought.

I updated a couple of sections above, but it turns out that numbers are now accessible through the SYM key, the selection-box for which will NOW stay up while we're typing, which I imagine is so we can pick several numbers from it.

 As mentioned above, the older method of selection (in which the box closed after choosing a character and the screen totally refreshed) would definitely not have worked, so it will now stay up for further character selections until we close it by pressing the Sym key again.

ALSO, we can still type the ALT-key+number combo if we 'know' where the
number keys are within that first row of alpha letters.  They'll still
function but they're not labeled so you'll have to guess which alpha letter
has which number.  I supposed some will get used to where they are.
The end key is '0' or zero, and '9' is just before, etc.

A commenter asked about the DX Graphite possibly having a WiFi component that could be enabled later.
  I'd forgotten to blog the "teardown" of the DXG that was printed yesterday.  I'll add that info here, for those wondering about WiFi on the new DXG.
Teardown by TechRepublic.  On one picture, the caption for the 3G wireless unit is:
' The Kindle DX (Graphite) uses an AnyDATA DTP-600W HSPA mini PCI-E module for wireless connectivity.  According to AnyDATA documentation the DTP-600W "operates globally on tri-band UMTS 850/1900/2100 wireless networks as well as quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 networks.
  Below the wireless module is a SIM card, which was not present on the original Kindle DX. '

[Updated also] I didn't know what was planned for that SIM card and had not seen anything about a WiFi capability built in for the DX Graphite.  However, much can be done with SIM cards and WiFi today. Check out SIMFi, a SIM Card With Built-In Wi-Fi Hotspot that gives an example of what's coming soon, in general.

  See commenter PRW's explanation for the SIM card, below:

In the comments area, PRW let us know that the K3 User Guide mentions we can also enter numbers by using [probably the Alt-key] and the top row's Q-P as 1-9+0 though they're not labled.  That would be harder for me as I can't find them fast even when labeled on the DX, but it's a good alternative.

  PRW also explains that "the new models use GSM wireless.  Each device in a GSM system requires a unique SIM card to access the cell network, even if only for data."

Also, "Anonymous" found in the manual that the K3 has a microphone (!) and no one seems to have noticed.  (I haven't read very far at all either.)  He points out that "the manual says: "is not currently enabled but is provided for future use"

See later blog entry on detailed Hands-on report by Washington Post's PC World posting and more photos.

These include new features for PDFs, Web-browser, and other items, and I am putting them into a new blog article, Unsung Features, since this one is already too long.  They include setting amount of contrast in a PDF, zooming in to a webpage, setting Device time and other good features.

Well, no surprise maybe.  While I did not order a new DX as I like the one I have, I did pre-order the new 3G/WiFi and chose the same old white color, as it doesn't show dust as easily and it's sunnier and I like less of a boundary visible to me.  It turns out that the WiFi-Only model seems to be available only in Graphite, while the 3G/WiFi one gives us a choice of White or Graphite.

  Am repeating links from the now-distant top of this posting. for convenience.  I could say order early to get into the queue but I imagine there will be plenty of these available :-).

U.S. and International (except UK)
  Free 3G/WiFi - $189  (White/Graphite) and WiFi-only- $139  (Graphite)
    Cover, with light powered by Kindle's battery - $60
    Cover, w/o light - $35

  Free 3G/WiFi - £149.00  (White/Graphite) and WiFi-only- £109.00  (Graphite)
    Cover, with light powered by Kindle's battery - £50
    Cover, w/o light - £30

Check often:  Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. "What do they mean? It has always had one and the new one seems no more capable"

    The old Kindle browser was some combo of Mozilla/Netfront. Not sure which part did what.

    Webkit on the other hand is what the iPhone, iPad, WebOS, Android, and a few other mobile/desktop browsers use. It's open source as well.

  2. xabbott,
    Thanks for that info. They did hire a Web specialist to redesign everything but didn't think he'd get it done this fast.

    Now to worry about 3G charges and whether Amazon might institute tiered charges for heavier use if it IS noticeably faster.

    Will update the entry.

  3. "The new Kindle uses an improved built-in PDF reader with new dictionary lookup, notes and highlights, and support for password protected PDFs."

    Let's hope that's a software update that will be pushed to existing devices as well.
    It's something we've been waiting for for a long time.

  4. p.s. getting rather annoying having to press a button 5 times to submit a comment (twice on the "post comment" button, sign in to google, then twice there on their submit button).

  5. Andrys,
    This seems very much like the rumored Shasta device from late May. Those leaked docs seemed to imply that some devices would have wifi turned off in firmware until Shasta release. I wonder if DXG already has wifi transceiver built-in ready to be turned on? Missing from product lineup is a DXG/wifi only selling for $329 (less $50 3G premium in products announced today).

    A DXG with wifi only would make me upgrade my DX US.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion about how number entry is done. Can you elucidate?

  6. jwenting,
    I imagine there'll be an update later. These are not shipped until Aug 27, so they're probably working also on the features that can be added to at least the new DX and maybe the older K2 2nd gen DX's.

    The cyrillic and asian fonts will require more file space for books using those. (which hosts blogspot blogs) is being stubborn in a few ways thes days...

  7. Ed,
    No doubt in my mind this is the Shasta. The form factor IS different and it's slimmer and has a wifi component.

    I forgot to blog the "teardown" of the DXG that was printed yesterday. I'll add a note on that to the blog entry.
    Teardown by TechRepublic. On one picture:

    "The Kindle DX (Graphite) uses an AnyDATA DTP-600W HSPA mini PCI-E module for wireless connectivity. According to AnyDATA documentation the DTP-600W "operates globally on tri-band UMTS 850/1900/2100 wireless networks as well as quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 networks.

    Below the wireless module is a SIM card, which was not present on the original Kindle DX."

    However, nothing about a WiFi capability.

    There WAS a Wifi-fitting slot open in the K2.

    Re the numbers question:

    Yes, it'll be through the SYM key -- but it seems that the Sym key box will STAY up while we're typing now so that we can be able to type sequential characters that way. The old way would be impossible.

    I should include that too...

  8. I see they've added back a line-spacing option - only 3 choices, but still very welcome. Too bad they didn't bring back the justification toggle too... ;<

    Big Question: Will they make current owners wait until the end of August before rolling out the improved firmware?

  9. Ed, see my addition in UPDATE6 with respect to that teardown.

    How do you like your DX Graphite? I've been wondering!

    Linespacing was always in the little one! But still not in the DXG. Or, is it there on yours?

    People are still receiving software update v2.5.6 :-) Can we take another round of multiple updates? YES.

    I think they will want to make sure that all new features are working well, so I'd not count on it before the 20th at any rate. It would be a large subset of the new features, I imagine, or hope.

  10. Andrys,

    I hope some of the features (new browser, pdf stuff, etc) are made available for older devices via firmware.

    No matter the teardown, it does seem glaringly obvious that DXGs need 3G+wifi and wifi only models.

    I'll probably get a wifi only DXG when available in white (because I'll want to put a snazzy skin on it -- putting a skin on graphite seems wrong somehow :)).

  11. Ed,
    I'd be surprised if at least the pdf features aren't added.

    My DX US has such vivid contrast (to my eyes) that I don't have plans to get another one. The 3G being upgraded to the new browser method would be very nice though!

    For portable surfing, my 10" non-glare netbook is the thing I go to.

    Very funny about not using a snazzy skin on graphite :-)

  12. I don't see WiFi being added to the DX (certainly not as a WiFi-only model).
    It's a low cost alternative to 3G after all, adding it in addition to 3G only increases the cost of the device (and its power consumption).
    3G coverage is far higher than WiFi coverage (and with the 0-cost 3G use, even where WiFi is available it will usually be cheaper as especially outside the US many if not most WiFi hotspots are not free but rather expensive (up to several dollars per minute in places like airports)).

    If added, it's solely for marketing purposes, not any technical reason (which of course makes perfect sense to do, for a marketeer, I'm talking as a techie here, we generally don't have a very high opinion of marketeers).

  13. Does it have a USB connection for direct loading of my own documents to the device?

  14. Two points: according to the K3 User Guide I downloaded, you can still enter numbers using the key and Q-P as 1-9+0. The keys are just not labeled. This would seem faster to me (if you can remember which is which) than navigating to the numbers in the SYM panel.

    Second, the new models use GSM wireless. Each device in a GSM system requires a unique SIM card to access the cell network, even if only for data.

  15. it has a microphone and nobody has noticed! Although the manual says: "is not currently enabled but is provided for future use"

  16. jwenting,
    No idea what they'd do but there are many with bad or no AT&T cellular network reception and those would like at least a WiFi-Only model.

    I personally have no need for one, but ...

  17. ShutterSparks,
    Yes the Kindles have a USB connector and we transfer data with it to/from the Kindle, and the cable comes as part of the power cord.

  18. PRW,
    Thanks! I read only as far as the Sym key when searching numbers and should have gone further.

    I have the earlier DX and I must add that even when I can SEE the numbers it takes me awhile to find the correct one especially when the light isn't optimal, but at least I can hold down the alt-key while inputting the ones I find, in a series.

    But, because it takes me awhile to find the right key even when I can see the identifier on them (too used to touch-typing on computer keyboards and that particular placement), the Sym key will probably work better for me.

    Thanks also for the info on the SIM card seen in the DXG teardown and not used in the earlier DX.

  19. Anonymous,
    --- 'it has a microphone and nobody has noticed! Although the manual says: "is not currently enabled but is provided for future use" '

    Great catch! Thanks for this info. Will include it later though I can't use your name this way :-)

  20. Ahhh... my procrastination about replacing my broken Kindle has paid off! (still haven't been home at the right time to phone Amazon about it)

    My question is: if I, in Australia, buy the wi-fi only model, will I still be slugged the international whispernet fee - the extra $2 built into the price of every book sold here (which, if I email Amazon, they deny exists)?

  21. Do you think that 'Article Mode' on the new browser menu is the same as 'Basic Mode' on the old browser? I like being able to use basic mode and sites designed for mobile browsers.

  22. suze2000,
    Glad that worked out pretty well for you :-).

    The extra $2 is a flat rate of a type that companies budget to cover what they think will be the overall cost, rather than spend money trying to calculate everyone's individual time-on, which would be expensive to do and maintain.

    The execs never deny the $2 extra is built in outside of the U.S. If a company was based in Australia, would I expect they would not charge me more for operating costs and shipping/ delivery charges so I can also use their products?

    First, it's a mistake to think that non-USA people are paying wireless charges and that US residents are not. They factor in book cost AND what wireless costs them in the U.S. (which is considerably less).

    So, we also have that. A $10 book is probably $9 + an average $1 cost. Or maybe 75c. Whatever it is for them. There's no doubt that wireless is far more expensive in most places outside the U.S.

    Here's what I wrote on a forum post about this to someone from Canada (omitting a couple of non-apropos paragraphs).

    It was too long combined with this note so I'll put it in a 2nd note.

  23. Suze,
    Here's part two. It's taken from a post to a Canadian with the same complaint about Amazon's $2 add'l on books outside the U.S.

    [The $2] would have been estimated and calculated as an *average* per book cost. There is no question whatsoever that the wireless cost in Canada and other places is considerably more expensive than it is here and especially the deal Amazon has with Sprint and AT&T domestically.

    Do we expect Amazon to eat that cost? I think that would be highly unusual.

    It's not individual-by-individual when the cost is built into the books, it's a business decision not to lose money because they can't get an agreement yet in Canada to use their wireless providers who can't meet the lower pricing that would allow Amazon to do what they do here.

    So they had to find a way to allow the favorite feature of instant wireless downloads anywhere, but it has to be paid for.

    It's a U.S. company with good wireless agreements in the U.S. -- why should their charges be the same outside the country in countries where such agreements can't be made?

    Would people be happier if Amazon just decided not to do it at all? Or was it better to find a solution that might work and not be too painful for those who said they wanted the Kindle where they were.

    Operating costs, moreover, tend to be more outside one's country.

    When we U.S. customers travel ANYwhere outside the U.S. we have the option to find a computer and make the transfer. But if we decide we want to just download it now and just have no computer nearby, $5/week additional for subscriptions we get here is something we'd pay if we choose to travel where wireless costs (like your country's) are higher.

    Yes, we can download to our computers when we are away. And, yes, Canadians don't have to think about ceasing to use wireless when away from Canada because your cost will be the same anywhere in the world as you're already paying a premium due to your country's high wireless service costs.

    I don't get it. I can be hard on Amazon at times, but people seem to think everything done outside the U.S. by a U.S. company who then has to pay the higher expenses OF that other country should cost people living in those countries no more than it costs the people in the host country where the company has lower-cost wireless contracts.

    Why do people seem to think it should all be equal despite all that ?

    That is unlike any thinking about business concerns I've seen. People have kept requesting the wireless capability of the Kindle in other areas of the world, in other countries, but it's their wireless providers who insist on keeping the costs too high.

    PART of the high cost, in the UK, for example, is dwinding bandwidth capabilities and resulting slowdowns already as it is for cell phone processes.

    Amazon seems to think they can work it out with other countries eventually, and they go with AT&T partners in the meantime. But that remains to be seen.

    Little by little, they're expanding free web-browsing. So far, 56 countries have that. Australia does, the UK does, Canada does. But thre is a cost for that kind of thing. Last year there were complaints the device itself wasn't available and then there were complaints the countries didn't get web browsing.

    Hope my thinking here helps a little in easing the pain of the added $2 (though I realize it might not)... They did take the $2 off the $0.00 books now that web browsing was enabled in Australia and the UK.

  24. I recognise your argument here, and (somewhat) agree with you. But I was asking about the WI-FI only versions, not the 3G coverage. If I'm using wi-fi, I can't be costing Amazon for cellular roaming.

    I pay the $2 fee currently (or did, on my K2i) whether I download the book through my computer or via Whispernet. I did manage to avoid it for a while by claiming I was a US resident and using my lappy and the USB cable, but Amazon have obviously started IP tracking and will not allow me to buy books that way anymore (which leads me to another whine about the limited range of books available to me compared with the US).

  25. suze2000
    I'm not sure you recognize the reasoning from what you say here. I said it doesn't seem done by individual actions like your not using Whispernet but from an overall budget that decided on a flat rate for ALL based on cost-expectations, no matter how people use the available options.

    It's not fair but it's also far less expensive to maintain and therefore lowers overall cost that would have to be taken care of in some way.

    That whine is what I would be doing too! but it's the publishers you have to target because it's they who set the digital rights enforcement based on their own treatment of rights between borders on digital media.

    It's pretty awful. I've seen the number of books you can't get there and I would find it really frustrating. Adding to the problem is Barnes & Noble and what they did with Fictionwise.

    I wish I could help there but I don't know what can be done about it. I know I would not like it...

  26. will kindle 3g wireless allow downloads from sources other than Amazon - like ebooks from the public library?

  27. Anonymous. Yes, direct to Kindle w/no extra charges, 30,000 free books from Project Gutenberg. Mobi format books

    Also, direct downloading of countless free books and text from,, and

    No fee in any of those cases. But choose .mobi or .prc or .azw (or even .txt) for downloads.

    Public library - only if they have e-books in .mobi format. But many libraries are loaning out Kindles now.

  28. Anonymous from 4:16 on July 30
    I'm back and missed this one earlier.

    No -- if you read the blog entry again, Article Mode is something else entirely. It simplifies the web page bringing you only the body and not the side links.

    Nice - more like Instapaper and Readability utilities.

    I'm with you on preparing Basic Mode most of the time. Better contrast and larger fonts.

  29. Hi,
    Great blog! Really informative. Is the latest Kindle DX (DXG)the same new generation as the Kindle "3"? i.e. does it have the new e-ink screen and pdf handling etc? Even though it launched earlier?


  30. Anonymous at 5:40 PM August 9
    I missed yours too.

    The latest Kindle DX, the Graphite version, does have the new Pearl E-Ink screen.

    The specific new features of the PDF handling for the K3 are not yet part of the DXG.

    But I suspect there'll be a software update to take care of most of that. I don't know anything though -- that's just a guess.
    Since it has the new screen it should be possible to do.

  31. Hi Andrys,

    Thanks for this useful blog! I've never had a Kindle but am considering buying the latest version - I wondered if you could clarify something. Amazon state that "Kindle does not currently connect to enterprise or peer-to-peer networks." What exactly does that mean? Will I be able to connect to websites I usually access on my computer? Or is access only available to specific sites?

  32. I see you're in Spain.

    It's one of the countries for which the web browser was not enabled but some were getting access and it is up in the air which countries get it right now. I'm trying to get clarification on that.

    Here is how it was before Kindle 3 and some aspects have changed since then though, on WiFi rather than 3G, you can certainly go anywhere on the Net with the Kindle 3.

  33. Michelle,
    If you're working in Spain but you have a U.S. credit card and basic US residence, then you have 3G mobile wireless access as well.

    The caveat is for very large work networks and private computer-to-computer networks - where they have private, complex connections of company or organization computers.

    Web access is to just about anywhere but it is e-Ink and always slower than even smartphones access to the web. Difference is they don't charge fees for it.

    Good luck on the decision!

  34. I must add that the 'enabling' of the web browser pre-Kindle 3 referred to the 3G wireless mobile or cellular-type access.

    The WiFi that both Kindle 3's have allows the web browser to work for any publicly accessible website and some countries also have the 3G mobile-network access to them as well.

  35. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I was actually thinking of getting it from Amazon UK as I will be over there in December - it works out cheaper than shipping from the US and I have always used the UK site up to now. I'm not sure if I would be able to access the bookstore via wifi though.

  36. Michelle,
    You -should- be able to access it with WiFi! They use a similar setup to Amazon U.S's...

    It's good that you're waiting in that case, as UK is having problems delivering the Kindle right now, I hear.

    I have links to the UK store on this page also, in the right-hand reference section.

    It'll be interesting to see what December looks like with all these e-readers trying to catch the Christmas or New Year rush.

  37. With regards to the $2 flat-rate for users outside the U.S., I think this was just something that wasn't thought of by Amazon when they released the WiFi-only model.

    Prior to that, it was reasonable to assume that all Kindles have 3G and thus a flat-rate for all was reasonable.

    But now, I don't think it applies. Amazon surely has a way of tracking if a person's registered Kindle (or Kindles) have 3G connectivity. Perhaps they can use the Kindle's serial number for this. Then customize the prices according to the logged-in user's profile and registered Kindle(s), 0 (zero) Kindles with 3G connectivity, same price as U.S., 1 or more Kindles with 3G, add the $2 fee.

    It can't be that hard, just a few logic tweaks in the website logic. As I said earlier, it may have just been an oversight on Amazon's part since it's the first time they've released a WiFi-only model. Birth pains, if you may.

    I just hope that Amazon realizes this and doesn't become a stick in the mud about it.


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