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

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the subtle-nudge-toward-the-other-ones dept.

Books 206

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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No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (2)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 3 years ago | (#37588084)

I thought technology and features were supposed to increase - not decrease - with each successive generation of product? Is Amazon trying to kill sales of it's own e-reader? To what end?

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37588172)

In the field of pixel-addressable e-ink screened devices, $80 is very aggressive pricing. It would appear that they have chosen to go with the "make it cheaper" option, (which advances in technology generally provide as an alternative to "make it better"), for this particular kindle.

Only the sales figures will say for sure whether it was a good idea; but encheapening the hell out of the lowest-end dedicated conduit to your gigantic electronic store doesn't seem like an obviously crazy strategy...

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588442)

In the field of pixel-addressable e-ink screened devices, $80 is very aggressive pricing. It would appear that they have chosen to go with the "make it cheaper" option, (which advances in technology generally provide as an alternative to "make it better"), for this particular kindle. Only the sales figures will say for sure whether it was a good idea; but encheapening the hell out of the lowest-end dedicated conduit to your gigantic electronic store doesn't seem like an obviously crazy strategy...

Yeah because poor people are well known for a) their disposable income to spend on electronics other than cell phones and b) their desire to read books often enough to have a dedicated device for it. I mean, when you hear that ghetto street slang you think "wow, he must be a well-read sort of fellow".

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

jefe7777 (411081) | about 3 years ago | (#37588460)

...maybe they want their issue of lowrider or rebel ink, electronically.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 years ago | (#37588680)

Yeah because poor people are well known for a) their disposable income to spend on electronics other than cell phones and b) their desire to read books often enough to have a dedicated device for it. I mean, when you hear that ghetto street slang you think "wow, he must be a well-read sort of fellow".

I'm so poor that I have to read Slashdot you insensitive clod.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (2)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37588776)

Yeah because poor people are well known for a) their disposable income to spend on electronics other than cell phones and b) their desire to read books often enough to have a dedicated device for it. I mean, when you hear that ghetto street slang you think "wow, he must be a well-read sort of fellow".

Do only poor people clip coupons? Do only poor people visit sites like FatWallet to save $$$? Do only poor people wait in line overnight for Black Friday sales?

No, we're not talking about "poor" people, these people have the money to spend they're just looking for a bargain and they didn't see spending $200-$400 to read an ebook when they already have a smartphone with Kindle ebooks. [amazon.com] But now that they can buy a Kindle for $79 Amazon is hoping that's the magic price-point to encourage them to finally buy a Kindle and hopefully spend more $$$ on books.

Smart move by Amazon.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (3, Interesting)

expat.iain (1337021) | about 3 years ago | (#37588802)

Yeah because poor people are well known for a) their disposable income to spend on electronics other than cell phones and b) their desire to read books often enough to have a dedicated device for it. I mean, when you hear that ghetto street slang you think "wow, he must be a well-read sort of fellow".

I'm not in the lowest tax bracket and can attest to the fact that it's more than simply the price-point that is a consideration when it comes to purchasing an ebook reader. I've just ordered my first ebook reader from Amazon and selected the basic model (without adverts). What I considered to be their high prices had put me off looking at them in the past. Plus there was (and still is) the issue that if I buy treeware, I'd expect to receive a digital copy too, so that my original copy does not get ruined and I find I am unable to purchase another copy since the publisher has stopped printing it. Kind of like being able to make MP3s from my own CD collection.

There is something satisfying about selecting a book and settling down to read it, when it comes in a paper version. That being said, the convenience and space factors when travelling make the ebook reader a certain winner. The reduction in price of the Kindle is what tipped the scales for me. There may still be the relatively high prices to pay on new books (compared to the associated costs involved with virtual media), but when one considers the wealth of knowledge available that is not constrained by copyright, the low priced Kindles make for a good purchase.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) | about 3 years ago | (#37588888)

I ordered one of the $79 Kindles the day it came out, knowing that it didn't have a touchscreen (why anyone would even think that is beyond me) and it's a great value. After all, it's an e-reader, not an e-typer.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (2)

DrXym (126579) | about 3 years ago | (#37588464)

It's likely they shoved out a hobbled $80 model with the expectation that most people will buy the next one up but they can still claim the lower price point.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37588860)

It's likely they shoved out a hobbled $80 model with the expectation that most people will buy the next one up but they can still claim the lower price point.

No.

$199 Kindle Fire = Upgrade to $399 Kindle [cnet.com]

$79 Kindle = for people who never owned a Kindle before or used the free Kindle smartphone app. [amazon.com]

$79 is also a great price point for Christmas gifts. The average US adult spends $658 on gifts [americanre...hgroup.com] and $79 allows them to buy one for everyone on their list rather than only a few $199 Kindle Fires.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

edremy (36408) | about 3 years ago | (#37588880)

Actually, I just bought one precisely because it wasn't the keyboard/touch model.

The $79 version is considerably lighter (2/3rds the weight) and thinner than either of the other two models. It's really quite nice

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 3 years ago | (#37588740)

In the field of pixel-addressable e-ink screened devices, $80 is very aggressive pricing. It would appear that they have chosen to go with the "make it cheaper" option, (which advances in technology generally provide as an alternative to "make it better"), for this particular kindle.

It's a Amazon ebook reader to purchase and read Amazon ebooks and little else. Honestly I was surprised they allowed people to surf the web at all on them, but I suppose Amazon realized few people would spend $399 on only an ebook reader [cnet.com] so they packed it full of features to make it worth $399.

Now they have the bargain basement $79 Kindle and like a cheap car or cheap laptop, it can't do everything it's more expensive sibling can do. No surprise there, I don't think Amazon wants people to "upgrade" from a $399 Kindle to a $79 Kindle, the cheap Kindle is for people who really wanted a Kindle but didn't want to spend $399

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37588300)

Because the Kindle Fire exists, and they want to drive loyal customers to the higher margin product?

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 3 years ago | (#37588446)

Amazon's margins don't come from the devices, they aren't Apple. They make their money from the stuff you buy from them, regardless of what device you use. If owning a Kindle or Kindle Fire helps you buy more stuff, they want you to have one. It's that simple.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about 3 years ago | (#37588458)

Its even more amusing than this.... if you buy the fire they are losing money.

I'd expect this is a break even product, done by the lack of touchscreen - but I thought the $99 one was touchscreen anyway.... This bit of the announcement makes no sense really..

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 3 years ago | (#37588512)

Yes, the $99 version has a touchscreen, the $79 version does not. The touchless one is there mostly for people that do NOT want a touchscreen on their e-reader. And, yes, those people exist in quantity.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 years ago | (#37588310)

I don't understand. Why would you release an incomplete product?

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (4, Insightful)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 3 years ago | (#37588438)

It worked great for the iPhone.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 3 years ago | (#37588454)

Pay no attention to the OP. Their lowest end version of the Kindle ($79) has no touch screen, nor does it have a physical keyboard. Every other version has either a touchscreen or a physical keyboard.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about 3 years ago | (#37588452)

Tell apple this.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (4, Informative)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37588462)

The 3G model [xkcd.com] will still be able to download books for free, internationally. It just won't have free international web browsing any more. I thought the free web browsing was an insanely good deal for anyone who needed it (I don't need it since my phone's data bill is paid by work). I'm not surprised they're taking that feature away, it must cost them a whole lot of money if a lot of users are generating roaming charges.

Anyway, I've ordered my mum one of the new low-end Kindles. I'd be happy to give her my keyboard version if she wants the keyboard, since I didn't even want a keyboard on mine in the first place. There is no need for it. Whether I'm using my actual Kindle, or the Kindle app on my tablet or phone, I never need to type anything. Most people with a Kindle will already have a much better device for general browsing to hand, and simply selecting the links (or browsing to words to see the dictionary definition - my favourite feature of Kindle by far) with the directional controller will work fine anyway.

Re:No 3G and No Touchscreen Keyboard? (1)

b0bby (201198) | about 3 years ago | (#37588998)

One of my kids has the older Kindle, and I'm going to get the other one the new $79 model. The only thing I have found that you need the keyboard for is making folder names for grouping books; not a big deal. The lighter weight makes up for it, in my opinion. I have a Nook touch myself; the page turn buttons on the Kindle are better, and that makes a surprising difference when you're reading. Touching the screen to turn the page is more distracting, & the buttons on the Nook are just a little too firm to be totally natural. I think this new Kindle may be the best option out there for a pure book reader.

heh (5, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 3 years ago | (#37588086)

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.

Re:heh (2)

MrZilla (682337) | about 3 years ago | (#37588146)

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 WiFi versions, and I would assume at least some people who bought wanted to use it for browsing.

Re:heh (-1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 3 years ago | (#37588206)

I'm unsure how anyone could have imagined that the on-screen keyboard for the $79 model would be touch.

This is a MASSIVE fail... my palm m105 from years ago had touch in conjunction with "cursive" stroke recognition and an on-screen keyboard... this eReader not having touch and also using an onscreen keyboard which has to be navigated using nudges on the "controller" is just so brain-dead as a concept... people will NOT be impressed by it at all... I had been considering getting one to replace my old Palm Tungsten E which I used to use extensively for reading ebooks until the battery started to conk out and not hold charge for long leaving me tethered to the wall outlet...

Re:heh (2)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 3 years ago | (#37588282)

I can't believe you are comparing a Kindle to a palm pilot or that you considered a Kindle to be a replacement for a palm pilot. They are two completely different devices intended for completely different uses. Reading a book on an m105 (I had one until about 3 months ago) would be a total joke compared to reading a book on a Kindle. The Kindle can't even do most of what made the m105 an awesome device. What a weird comparison.

Re:heh (4, Informative)

drolli (522659) | about 3 years ago | (#37588344)

Yes. sadly mine was stolen in 2004. i bought a z31 and was disappointed. Thing i liked about the m105:

*well readable under any lighting conditions
*long stand by time
*long battery life
*no charger, you could get batteries for it at the end of the world (and have a pack of spares in your pocket)
*back lighted display was extremely eye-friendly and could be used in complete darkness in the plane without disturbing your neighbors.
*built-in PIM was better and faster than anything i have seen for Android or Symbian
*Email could be read via modem/irda on mobile phones
*beaming vcards by irda was fast, much faster and more reliable to initiate than by bluetooth (between siemens, nokia, palm)
*the design of the protective cover was *brilliant*. when i had the m105 i did not need another watch
*it did not crash on built-in applications (unlike my android or my nokia e63)
*i miss the memo function to scribble with the stylus

So yes. they did squeeze every bit of user experience possible to achieve with a resistive touch screen of 160x200 pixels, 5 hardware buttons, 8MB of ram and 16MHz of processing power. Sad to see where their road took them.

Re:heh (1)

ZosoZ (1603973) | about 3 years ago | (#37588346)

this eReader not having touch and also using an onscreen keyboard which has to be navigated using nudges on the "controller" is just so brain-dead as a concept

The previous versions of the Kindle (which I gather have been moderately successful) hardly use the keyboard for navigation; pick the book you want using the controller, then navigate it with the next/previous page buttons (or menu options for table of contents etc.) The new low-end Kindle makes perfect sense if you just want it to read books and you don't make annotations or anything. If you *do* want touchscreen flexibility, just get the Kindle Touch!

Re:heh (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 3 years ago | (#37588472)

The lack of keyboard and touch screen of the low-end model will only likely affect those people playing games (and other active content) on their Kindle. Most folks won't notice if all they do is read books.

Re:heh (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 3 years ago | (#37588854)

The lack of keyboard and touch screen of the low-end model will only likely affect those people playing games (and other active content) on their Kindle. Most folks won't notice if all they do is read books.

It will also impact people who like to annotate their books to any significant degree. I know several people in book "clubs" who annotate the book they are reading to tag talking points, thoughts, etc. It will be a lot harder with this unit.

Re:heh (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | about 3 years ago | (#37588906)

Good point. I hadn't thought of the annotation feature since I never use it. I suspect that if you do enough of it then opting to spend the extra $20 for the Touch version would be money well spent (or buy the keyboard version which is still available).

Re:heh (1)

MyNicknameSucks (1952390) | about 3 years ago | (#37588368)

But, seriously.

You want the premium features (keyboard, touch) on the cheapest models? Just cough up the extra $60 for the features you want and get over it. There's a reason Amazon has a range of products, from low end to high.

As for me? I'm getting my kids the cheap Kindles for Christmas. Cheap enough that I won't be crushed if they get stolen at school. And the lack of a keyboard? Just fine with me.

FWIW, I have a Kindle 3g -- I use the keyboard ... once a month. Maybe.

Re:heh (2)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37588402)

this eReader not having touch and also using an onscreen keyboard which has to be navigated using nudges on the "controller" is just so brain-dead as a concept... people will NOT be impressed by it at all...

so... you've not owned an ereader appliance yet. I had a "rocket ebook" reader more than a decade ago, and a jetbook, and used the kindle app on my ipod touch (I've tried other ipod touch reader apps), etc.

You'll wear out the "down" button. You occasionally need the "up" button to navigate thru the menu of books. You'll press the "escape/menu/library/enter" button roughly each time you switch books. Thats about it, for keyboard use. You really only need three buttons, although a fourth for power is nice.

The massive fail is amazon sold at least some books directly on the kindle, as in go to the search bar, type in a name or whatever, and buy it all from the kindle. I would assume with onscreen keyboard, those sales, however low they might be, will drop to zero. Apparently amazon thinks the cost of all the keyboards worldwide exceeds the expected worldwide profits from sales on the device itself. They could be right.

Re:heh (2)

Motor (104119) | about 3 years ago | (#37588428)

You are making the same mistake that a lot of people make. The Kindle (the e-ink reader) isn't a computer/tablet/PDA... it's for reading books. Buy it for that... and it's brilliant. The keyboard on the Kindle 3 was always a bit pointless.

It's not a fail, it's the basic part of the design (3, Informative)

sirwired (27582) | about 3 years ago | (#37588478)

If you want a touchscreen keyboard, they'll sell you a model with one for not a lot of additional money. Amazon's made it perfectly clear that there is no keyboard with their dirt-cheap $79 device. The device holds enough reading to last for years, so what do you need the keyboard for? This model is designed so you buy your books with a computer and then retrieve them on the device the next time you have a wi-fi connection. (Or, if you are the bestseller-reading type, you don't need a keyboard to buy books, the four-way controller will be just fine for scrolling down the list and hitting "buy".) If you don't like that, there are plenty of Kindle models to buy that will take care of you.

Re:heh (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37588572)

this eReader not having touch and also using an onscreen keyboard which has to be navigated using nudges on the "controller" is just so brain-dead as a concept... people will NOT be impressed by it at all...

I think your're misunderstanding the whole reader part of "eReader". I don't get who wouldn't be impressed by this addition to the line up. Bear in mind that they're still selling the keyboard version for those who want it. But I didn't even want a keyboard on my current Kindle, and wish this version was available a year ago.

Sometimes you just want a device that does one job well, rather than one that does everything passably. I can use my phone for everything from telling the time to watching movies, but people still have watches and televisions.

Re:heh (1)

edremy (36408) | about 3 years ago | (#37588896)

Why? I just bought one and the lack of a keyboard is a feature as far as I'm concerned. It saves weight and space.

If I want to annotate I can use the Kindle app on my iPad. If I want to browser the web I'll use a PC or my iPad. If I want to read a book I'll use the Kindle.

Re:heh (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 3 years ago | (#37588218)

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?

Re:heh (2)

Canazza (1428553) | about 3 years ago | (#37588250)

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

Re:heh (1)

Surt (22457) | about 3 years ago | (#37588302)

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

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37589012)

Just kids can't take candy from strangers, ok for adults It's common knowledge strangers have the best candy

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588232)

I think that says more about the cost of a tank of gas than about the cost of an eReader.

Re:heh (1)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about 3 years ago | (#37588394)

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

Re:heh (2)

wjsteele (255130) | about 3 years ago | (#37588412)

Amazon's 3G feature was free with no roaming... it also worked world wide.

Bill

Re:heh (1)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about 3 years ago | (#37588544)

How the hell does that work ?

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

Re:heh (1)

Jon_S (15368) | about 3 years ago | (#37588620)

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.

Re:heh (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 3 years ago | (#37588666)

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.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588434)

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

The point is that there is no cost to the user for Kindle 3G access. Whether that's still "roaming" is academic - you don't pay for it.

Re:heh (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 3 years ago | (#37588440)

Isn't the 3G connection free? Oh how weird that they want to keep that books / paid content only.

Also the keyboard issue was obvious as you say but you can buy the books on your computer so you don't need to use the Kindle for purchasing.

What I personally would like to know is if sending say pdfs to their service and fetch them over wifi is free, I think so.
Converting by program and sending by cable can be done to?
No external storage space such as microSD? So very limited space for things you've converted yourself or do they take up very little space?
Can one store them in Amazons cloud for a fee? Suck regardless.

Does the Sony readers have microSD?

Re:heh (0)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37588766)

Amazon never permitted people to use the 3G for web browsing, if you read the ToS that came with your Kindle you'd know that the 3G is for the purpose of browsing their store and any other uses could result in them sending out a bill for the cost of service.

Just because they haven't been particularly vigilant in policing that point does not mean that this is a sudden change of policy. You were never supposed to be using 3G for browsing the web. What they're doing here is enforcing it before they need to start sending out bills.

Re:heh (2)

joebok (457904) | about 3 years ago | (#37589074)

It IS a change of policy.

I don't know how "sudden" since I've just got a Kindle 1, but Amazon built a web-browser into the thing (on the Kindle 1, this is in the "Experimental" section). No hacking/jailbreaking/rooting required to use. It is clear from the text on the "basic web" functionality that it is an experimental prototype - they encouraged its use and were soliciting feedback.

As I've seen other posters say, I tried it out when the kindle was new but have never tried it again since. The lack of it isn't a deal-breaker for me, but it is something worth noting.

Re:heh (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about 3 years ago | (#37588840)

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.

Not surprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588098)

Kindle is being stratified, if you want functionality you have to pay more. If you want to pay less, then a certain amount of data mining will occur.

Its as simple as that.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Windwraith (932426) | about 3 years ago | (#37588118)

Aah, in the past, for cheaper versions of hardware you just had less features or quality. Now you get datamining on top, for good measure.
The logic for free online services does not... rather, should not be applied to physical hardware you pay.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Windwraith (932426) | about 3 years ago | (#37588152)

Since I didn't explain myself too well there...

In free online services datamining means "you pay with the continuous maintenance costs of a free service with your privacy". Fine, that's fair enough.
With hardware it's "you pay for the 'discount' with your privacy". That is not fine, because they won't stop datamining after they recover the difference in price. They aren't going to be "OK we already got $100 from this guy, no more datamining". So they will be having access to whatever data they gather...forever.
Not what you'd expect for a lower-end piece of hardware with less features. Are we selling our souls here or what?

For how long is datamining data valuable, and how much profit do they expect to get from it?

At least Apple doesn't stoop to data mining (0)

arcite (661011) | about 3 years ago | (#37588168)

They price their products to include a healthy profit margin and include 'features' people want, they don't have to stoop to the level of fooling customers out of giving up their browsing/reading habits to marketers. In this way, the Kindle is not a 'computing device', but a marketing and advertising device. A device of pure consumption. It's disgusting really, what does this say about our society when people would willingly be subjected to such a thing? Personally, I rarely watch public television as I can't stand the commercials. I pay a little more for cable so I don't have to.

PBS has no commercials, cable does (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 3 years ago | (#37588354)

Say what? PBS has no commercials. Amazingly, despite being a subscription service, cable television channels do. You have it backwards.

Re:At least Apple doesn't stoop to data mining (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588358)

I was actually laughing, then I saw a fanboy had labelled this drivel 'interesting'.

Uhh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588116)

So how the hell can they call it 3g when that part is disabled...

Re:Uhh... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588124)

Because the Amazon Book Store is still available over 3G.

Oblig. XKCD (4, Funny)

psergiu (67614) | about 3 years ago | (#37588132)

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

Re:Oblig. XKCD (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588214)

Except that Wikipedia browsing is still allowed according to TFA.

Re:Oblig. XKCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588844)

what a moron you are.

Kindle touch* 3G** (-1, Troll)

Reality Master 301 (1462839) | about 3 years ago | (#37588164)

* No touch
** No 3G

Re:Kindle touch* 3G** (3, Informative)

MrZilla (682337) | about 3 years ago | (#37588198)

The Kindle Touch still has touch. This article complains that the Kindle that does not include a touch screen, can not handle touch input.

Re:Kindle touch* 3G** (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about 3 years ago | (#37588200)

The Kindle Touch 3G has both touch and 3G (you just can't use it for web surfing anymore; that's why the browser was always under "experimental"). The Kindle (no Touch, no 3G) doesn't. Wow, big surprise.

Guns always shoot feet (0, Flamebait)

Stumbles (602007) | about 3 years ago | (#37588178)

What is it about corporations when they have a decent product and then proceed to fuck up the next generations? I'll never buy the thing.

Re:Guns always shoot feet (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 years ago | (#37588268)

Since Amazon have kept both 3G and touch versions available alongside this, what makes you think at all that this is for you or a fuck up? Its a cheaper version with less features - they are getting right down to just the "ereader" everyone has been demanding for years, with a reduction in price to match (yup, not there yet for a really decent ereader segment of the market, the "oh, I will buy that wiht my first ebook" segment, but they are getting there slowly).

Re:Guns always shoot feet (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 3 years ago | (#37588444)

I bought the Wifi only Kindle

  I did not want 3G, I have better devices to browse on already

  I did not want a colour screen, I wanted one that was easy to read

  I did not want a touchscreen, it makes the device too expensive and attracts fingerprints that make it hard to read (see above)

I bought the Kindle e-book reader as an e-book reader, if I had wanted a laptop, Tablet, Mobile phone, portable gaming console, movie device etc .. that is not as good at reading books on .. there are plenty out there that are much much better ...

Amazon seem to have lost the point of an e-book reader, that it is easier to read books on it than a conventional screen and the battery life is measured in months, all the new devices seem to be multimedia, network connected tablets ....there are better ones out there already?

Re:Guns always shoot feet (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37589036)

Amazon seem to have lost the point of an e-book reader,

They just launched three new models of e-ink reader and are continuing to sell the old ones. I think they've got a pretty good grasp on what was working with the original Kindle, they've just decided to try some other things. That they're making a product you don't like, doesn't mean they're directly harming the product you do like.

Re:Guns always shoot feet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588534)

Exactly. It always amazes me when a news like this pops up there are always people defending every stupid greedy move with such fervor that it unclear whether they gave it any thought at all. I saw someone say a Kindle (Touch, DX or whatever) is a `premium' product. In what way? It is a crippled device with a screen poorly suited for the only function it offers: reading `books'. They have already given up on the things this device CAN do right now (read pdf, do text editing, etc). And finally, the game begins: lets make it even more crippled and get those schmucks to buy `Kindle experience'. Thanks, $90 was too much for Kindle 2 (that is what I got mine for) but the rest of them are just useless for me.

Non-touch is preferred for reading (4, Insightful)

inflex (123318) | about 3 years ago | (#37588180)

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.

It's free 3G, so of course. (1)

Warwick Allison (209388) | about 3 years ago | (#37588188)

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.

Re:It's free 3G, so of course. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37588208)

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...

Thank you, Slashdot! (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | about 3 years ago | (#37588194)

You just saved me 50 bucks. Not sure if it compensates for thousands of hours wasted here, but thanks anyway!

Thank [deity of choice] for the dropped keyboard! (1)

mikepost (2462284) | about 3 years ago | (#37588254)

Having had a few ereaders I liked the Kindle best, but the keyboard has always been a massive waste of space and an annoyance when holding it. I can see how using a cursor based keyboard will be annoying on the rare occasions that I search for a book or enter a Wifi key, but half the time I have the same thing on the current kindle when entering symbols. Considering that the primary use to which I put the device is reading, I'm delighted. Smaller, lighter, cheaper and less buttons to inadvertently press when I'm nodding off to sleep and fumble my ereader across the bedroom. Perfect! I'd make the same argument against the touch screen. The vast majority of the time spent with this device is while reading, during which the touch screen is just an opportunity to put finger prints all over the screen.

Re:Thank [deity of choice] for the dropped keyboar (1)

kghunt (2475752) | about 3 years ago | (#37588322)

Ill second that. They keyboard is a waste of time. Its an e-reader not a tablet.

Re:Thank [deity of choice] for the dropped keyboar (1)

cbope (130292) | about 3 years ago | (#37588720)

I think a lot of people *expected* this to be a cheap tablet, hence all the whining here.

I agree, it's an e-reader, not a tablet, but that won't stop a few geeks from trying to get root access and all that crap. I just wish I had that kind of free time on my hands... :P

Unsettling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588266)

If the lack of 3G web browsing and touch-based input on a *dirt-cheap* e-reader is the kind of thing that unsettles you, you need to climb out of mom's basement for a few hours.

keyboard kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588278)

does this mean that the new kindle featuring a keyboard will still have free 3G browsing?

Why buy these useless stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588296)

Why anyone would buy these useless, locked, and one purpose devices is beyond me. There are pads now on the market who are pretty close in price to these devices and can do a lot more and then some! And they are not locked down to a couple of vendor specific formats, if u are stupid enough to pay for these, blame yourself when u get substandrard, overpriced products

Re:Why buy these useless stuff (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | about 3 years ago | (#37588450)

Steve? How long have the hospital been allowing you to use the Internet?

Re:Why buy these useless stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588470)

Perhaps because I don't want all my stuff on an expensive, fragile, easily-stolen device?

Re:Why buy these useless stuff (1)

DAldredge (2353) | about 3 years ago | (#37588836)

My table doesn't work very well in full sunlight while the Kindle does.

Re:Why buy these useless stuff (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 3 years ago | (#37588966)

People pay a premium for the screen (and to a slightly lesser extent for the battery life).

the e-paper screen is fantastic for reading books. And you can take the thing away with you on its own without worrying about how and where to recharge it. Great for travel!

If I had a tablet, I'd only use it as an ereader. Paying more for an inferior screen and battery life doesn't seem sensible to me.

"Unsettling" (4, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about 3 years ago | (#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".

Re:"Unsettling" (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37588430)

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.

Re:"Unsettling" (2)

Jon_S (15368) | about 3 years ago | (#37588638)

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" (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37588644)

Well, then that's even more generous.

Re:"Unsettling" (4, Informative)

N1AK (864906) | about 3 years ago | (#37588432)

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.

Re:"Unsettling" (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37588796)

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.

Re:"Unsettling" (1)

tixxit (1107127) | about 3 years ago | (#37588826)

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 handful of kb.

I actually used this "browser" (0)

sirwired (27582) | about 3 years ago | (#37588506)

No, I didn't use the Kindle for normal web-browsing. However, the mobilread website produces a list of free e-books as a Kindle book. The way it worked was you downloaded the master list once. It was an ebook that had a bunch of hyperlinks in it. When you found the book you wanted, you just selected they hyperlink and it would use the web browsing feature to download the ebook file you wanted. (As an added bonus, the cover of the master list contained the permalink to the latest copy, so you could update your list any time you wanted.)

I've used this feature since the first Kindle; it was a nice way to get free ebooks. I suppose it's not such a big deal now, as Amazon itself now carries a lot of those same books for free.

And yes, the submitter bitching about how the $79 model doesn't have a touch-based keyboard is an idiot. No $hit, Sherlock. That's why they have models called "Kindle Keyboard" and "Kindle Touch." Did you think the bottom-end model was going to read your mind?

Not surprising (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not surprising (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37588810)

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.

Just stating the obvious (3, Insightful)

djchristensen (472087) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Missed a big market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588746)

A $99 browser or even the $199 color version woukd be a good stop gap for real web browsing until companies upgraded their legacy IE6 apps. Companies spend more than that in wasted time to get their websites working in crippled browsers so if I was an IE6 loving company would roll out kindles to everyone who needed real web site access until I convince my app programmers to upgrade.

So Kindles work as advertised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37588832)

What a total scandle!

I don't mean to seem like an Amazon zealot, but really what are we expecting for the prices?

I would not call it prominent (1)

asbestospiping (607061) | about 3 years ago | (#37588936)

I would hardly call a feature buried under an experimental menu prominent.

No way! (0)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#37589072)

The device marketed as not having a touch screen doesn't have a touch screen keyboard. Nobody could have guessed that from the fact that is doesn't have a fucking touch screen.
 

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