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Amazon Disables 3G Web Browsing For New 3G Kindle Touch 206

Posted by timothy
from the subtle-nudge-toward-the-other-ones dept.
destinyland writes "Amazon's going to disable 3G web browsing on their upcoming 'Kindle Touch 3G' — even though it was a prominent feature of the last generation of Kindles. Amazon will still allow web browsing on the Kindle Touch 3G using a local Wi-Fi connection, but it's one of many unsettling details emerging from Amazon's announcement last week. Apparently Amazon's cloud will now also include a list of personal documents that you're mailing to your Kindle. And the on-screen keyboard for Amazon's bargain $79 Kindles won't be a touchscreen keyboard, so users will have to nudge the controller repeatedly to gradually navigate from one key to the next."
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Amazon Disables 3G Web Browsing For New 3G Kindle Touch

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  • heh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday October 03, 2011 @06:06AM (#37588086) Homepage Journal

    I'm unsure how anyone could have imagined that the on-screen keyboard for the $79 model would be touch. Every bit of info. I've seen from Amazon comparing the models makes it incredibly clear that it doesn't have a touch screen. The models that do, surprisingly enough, have touch in the name (except for the fire but I don't think anyone is confused about what's going on there.)

    The 3g limitations on the touch are a bit disappointing, but I can't imagine too many people will be impacted greatly. Using the browser on an e-ink kindle is not something anyone would really be looking to do if they had other options. The only time I'm really seeing 3g browsing as something desirable is when I'm traveling and data on my phone is prohibitively expensive. If I'm not data roaming, I can just use my phone as wi-fi hot spot for the kindle, but if I want to be on the web I'll be doing it on my phone. I doubt the majority of kindle users are also international travelers who use it as a way to get cheap data access for the web.

    When I got my first Kindle I got on the web quickly, just to do it. I don't think I've done it again since. I do have a friend who was traveling in Austria and got into a bind. His wife was able to get on the web with her kindle, as they were driving, and find a place to stay in the next town ahead. I think they were data roaming so that's why they didn't just use a phone.

    I like the idea that emailed docs will get stored by Amazon especially if they get stored as part of my archive and they are available to all my registered kindles. Right now my family reads a lot of stuff that on our kindles that I don't get from Amazon. So I have to email it to each one, and I have to have the machine available that has the original documents. If I could email the doc once, then have it available to all kindles any time I want - that would be sweet.

    I'm getting a couple of the $79 Kindles as soon as I can. Probably next time I'm in the states. That's the cost of a tank of gas for my car for a great ebook reader.

    • by MrZilla (682337)

      I'm unsure how anyone could have imagined that the on-screen keyboard for the $79 model would be touch. Every bit of info. I've seen from Amazon comparing the models makes it incredibly clear that it doesn't have a touch screen.

      Indeed. I picked up the $79 model (well, $100 without ads) exactly because it didn't have touchscreen. I tend to hold my Kindle in a way that rests at least one finger on the screen. I do not want it doing stuff because of that.

      And I've never actually used the keyboard on my old Kindle, so the lack of one felt like an added feature. But I guess this new type of move-cursor-keyboard will be annoying for those who do use it.

      As for the 3G part, that seems like a bigger deal. The 3G versions cost more than the

    • I'm unsure how anyone could have imagined that the on-screen keyboard for the $79 model would be touch. Every bit of info. I've seen from Amazon comparing the models makes it incredibly clear that it doesn't have a touch screen. The models that do, surprisingly enough, have touch in the name (except for the fire but I don't think anyone is confused about what's going on there.)

      Oh geeze, my mom taught me never to touch fire. Now I'm going to have to relearn some stuff ... does this mean it's finally OK to take candy from strangers?

      • by Canazza (1428553)

        it's always been okay to take candy from strangers, so long as you don't get in their car.

        • by Surt (22457)

          My hobby is handing out poisoned candy from my car. Evolution in action!

    • by DiSKiLLeR (17651)

      I'm sorry, I'm quite confused. 3g data is 3g data, whether its on the kindle or on a phone. And if you're in another country, both the 3g kindle and your phone are on data roaming.

      How is it suddenly not data roaming based on what device your sim is in? o.o

      • by wjsteele (255130)
        Amazon's 3G feature was free with no roaming... it also worked world wide.

        Bill
        • by DiSKiLLeR (17651)

          How the hell does that work ?

          And can't you put the kindle's sim into your phone then ?

          • by Jon_S (15368)

            Amazon pays the cell bill. But makes websurfing very hard and slow so not much data is used.

            And no, there is no sim card to take out. Maybe there is one inside (not sure what network/protocol they use), but if so it is sealed inside.

          • by Tim C (15259)
            I don't even know for sure that a Kindle has a (removable) SIM - they're used in phones so you can swap them around and the manufacturers don't have to make specific phones for specific providers, but the Kindle neither has nor requires either of those features. If anything they need to be remotely-updatable so Amazon can push them to a different provider in the future.

            As for "...with no roaming", I suspect the GP meant no roaming charges.
    • I was going to buy the 3g touch---i had kindle (2nd gen), and while browser was barely useable, it was a nice fuzzy feeling that if I really really needed it, it was there... with touch interface, it probably would've been a LOT more useable.

      But, eh, good I found this out before pre-ordering.

  • Oblig. XKCD (Score:5, Funny)

    by psergiu (67614) on Monday October 03, 2011 @06:21AM (#37588132)

    http://xkcd.com/548/ [xkcd.com]
    (see mouse-over text)

  • by inflex (123318) on Monday October 03, 2011 @06:36AM (#37588180) Homepage Journal

    I've used touch-screen page turning and I also use the K3 bezel-button page turning systems, I know when it comes to reading a book the bezel mounted side buttons are a lot nicer than having to constantly move your finger and tap the screen just to turn the page.

    Sure, when it comes to typing out stuff the non-touch is a bit of a PITA, but I spend more time reading books than trying to type out things.

    The $79 kindle is a great development, strips away the bits that a lot of people use infrequently, drops the price, size and weight - all good.

  • Of course no telco is going to allow a world-wide one-time-payment 3G browser. On kindle it was a gimmick, so it didn't matter. "Blame" the telcos for not committing suicide, not Amazon.

    • For the right price, I'm sure we could work something out; but it might cause some difficulty in meeting your desired 'impulse purchase' price point...
      • The real answer is that it isn't a one time up front payment. AT&T takes a small amount off the top each time a book is delivered over 3g to a kindle. The fact that pennies per month is enough to make this profitable for them should probably indicate what their profit margins are for smartphone data plans, although obviously the data usage on a smart phone is going to be much higher than all but the heaviest Kindle web browser users.

  • You just saved me 50 bucks. Not sure if it compensates for thousands of hours wasted here, but thanks anyway!
  • "Unsettling" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tgd (2822) on Monday October 03, 2011 @07:23AM (#37588304)

    Its hard to imagine how anyone could be unsettled by a set of (completely obvious) changes to a consumer device.

    Drama much?

    - Obviously web browsing over 3G was going to be disabled. Amazon has *always* said it was experimental, and *obviously* they were going to remove it when they annouced free 3G access around the world.
    - Obviously a device without a touch screen and nothing but arrow keys was going to be a pain in the ass to use. I can count on my hands the number of times in four years I've used the keyboard on my Kindle. The target audience for it will never miss it.

    The submitter is a moron if those were so much as a surprise, much less "unsettling".

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Free, worldwide 3G access was available with the old Kindle too. (I know of several people who used it with the experimental browser to keep tabs on Gmail while on holiday.) Even so I can't say I grudge Amazon's decision to remove it.

      • by Jon_S (15368)

        Except they didn't "remove it". From the TFA:

        "Our Kindle Keyboard 3G will continue to offer experimental web browsing over 3G or Wi-Fi."

        All they did was introduce a new product with a different price point and different features.

    • Re:"Unsettling" (Score:5, Informative)

      by N1AK (864906) on Monday October 03, 2011 @08:03AM (#37588432) Homepage
      It's the same hyperbolic bollocks that led them to call 3G browsing on the current Kindle "a prominent feature". I bought a 3G kindle in no small part because access to travel information and wikipedia anywhere abroad made the price worthwhile. I wouldn't have bought it if it didn't offer that functionality. However, it was never, NEVER, made out by Amazon to be a prominent feature. I doubt it was mentioned anywhere on the box and the whole fucking brower was a 'test/beta' feature and comparitiely hidden away.

      In short. If you can't find something interesting enough to submit that it doesn't require hyperbole, don't submit it.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        That surprises me, last time I checked the ToS specifically stated that 3G was only free when used to browse the Amazon bookstore or download from the same shop. And that any other uses could result in Amazon sending the user a bill for the extra data use. That was a while back, about the time that they introduced their web browser to Kindle.

        Ultimately this is just a reversion to the way that things were at launch.

    • by tixxit (1107127)

      Just out of curiosity, do you buy your books on your computer? I usually purchase mine on the train or something though the Kindle itself, so I use the keyboard to search for it. But I've seen a lot of people mention that they never use the keyboard, so clearly I'm an exception.

      Now, web browsing, that truly is something I've never used. Ever. I've just never had the desire to try and read slashdot or the like on an e-ink display. And for random wikipedia searches my phone is much faster and uses only a hand

      • I have done that also but it really is so much easier to use a computer. Hey if you want a kindle and want to do that just get the touch. If you don't want to use that feature get the cheap one.
        Man Slashdot what the heck? Time and time again I see summaries that would make Fox News and or Randolph Hearst blush in shame.

        Really?
        You finding it unsettling that only the kindle with the touch screen has a touch keyboard?
        If you email a document to Amazon they will keep a copy in your cloud library? Really?
        These tw

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Monday October 03, 2011 @08:23AM (#37588532)

    This is the first step towards working out a way for content providers (and ultimately users) to pay for bandwidth on a stream or d/l basis. All the major ISPs know, as streaming video and digital d/ls become more popular, demand for bandwidth will go up. They don't want to merely become a commodity provider of bandwidth, especially since as demand goes up they will need to spend on infrastructure to keep up with demand. As a result, they are looking for ways to get a cut of the dollars flowing one their bandwidth in the form of content.

    Amazon, with it's own device and content, is a logical place to start with the "pay to deliver" model. Amazon knows what content is accessed, and can pay a cut to their service provider. If they let people browse the web and access other services, they have no way to know what was sent, or charge, for the bandwidth used. By cutting it off they avoid that issue. Their move to cloud-based browser enhance meant forwards that model as well - it lets them see what is accessed and charge the provider for the bandwidth. If the provider doesn't agree, then the service will not be available.

    This has implications beyond Amazon - as Apple moves more and more to online delivery of everything, ISPs will want a cut. That's why you see bandwidth caps starting to creep in - it's a way to put the structure in place to force the content providers hand.

    If they can't get money from the content providers, look for them to get it from users via tiered pricing or overage charges.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I'm pretty sure that Amazon gets a bill from AT&T or Sprint for the amount of data used and that Amazon then pays the bill for it. The issue there is that the 3G is paid for via book purchases and if people are using the connection to go elsewhere Amazon isn't being paid for the data that they then have to pay the carrier for.

      • With my current Kindle, that's not a problem; web browsing is crappy enough that few people will bother. It will probably be less crappy on their newer models. 3G would be nice to have, but I can see why Amazon can't offer it on anything where people will actually USE it.

  • by djchristensen (472087) on Monday October 03, 2011 @08:53AM (#37588674)

    As others have said, that the non-touch Kindle doesn't have a touch-based keyboard is a tad on the obvious side.

    As for the 3G browser, this discussion is the first time I've heard it was available at all. When I got my Kindle, Amazon made it very clear and obvious that the browser was only supported over WiFi. It made sense to me that the free 3G connection was contingent upon the fact that very little bandwidth is used downloading books and checking the Kindle bookstore periodically. It just doesn't make sense that the 3G providers would allow a very low one-time fee for effectively unlimited data usage. If Amazon did open up 3G browsing, then I suspect they only did it because no one uses it. That might be different with the Kindle Touch, I suppose.

  • All true but written in a confusing way. The $79 kindle does not have a touch screen, so how could it have a touch screen keyboard..

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