New Amazon Kindle with WebKit browser and free 3G internet

Never mind the books. Amazon’s new Kindle reader is offering as an “experimental feature” a web browser based on WebKit – the same engine as Apple Safari and Google Chrome – that is free to use over 3G networks:

New WebKit-Based Browser
Kindle’s new web browser is based on WebKit to provide a better web browsing experience. Now it’s easier than ever to find the information you’re looking for right from your Kindle. Experimental web browsing is free to use over 3G or Wi-Fi.

Amazon pays for the 3G coverage which is available globally. OK, it is monochrome, but since the Kindle also has a neat little keyboard is this now a great deal for blogging, checking Google maps, and so on?


Maybe not. Here’s what the terms and conditions say:

Use of Wireless Connectivity. Your Kindle uses wireless connectivity to allow you to shop for and download Digital Content from the Kindle Store. In general, we do not charge you for this use of wireless connectivity … You may use the wireless connectivity provided by us only in connection with the Service. You may not use the wireless connectivity for any other purpose.

If you are like me you may feel there is some inconsistency between these two statements. Enough to say that from my point of view free global web browsing would be a big incentive to purchase a Kindle; but I suspect that if this is real and turns out to be a popular feature consuming significant data traffic, Amazon will soon find a way to charge for it or turn it off.

It is also interesting to see a smidgen of convergence between the Kindle and more general-purpose slate devices. I am not sure if the Kindle strictly counts as a slate since it has a keyboard, but it certainly has the slate look and feel.


68 thoughts on “New Amazon Kindle with WebKit browser and free 3G internet”

  1. Erin – you will probably be able to update your blog from the kindle, using the web browser. However, although technically possible, this may not be difficult in reality as it has a small-ish black and white screen, and a small, fiddly keyboard.

    But then that could be said for most tablets. If you want to do a lot of writing, use a laptop. If you want to do a lot of reading, use an ereader. Both devices can technically read books and update blogs, but in reality they can only do one of those jobs well.

  2. i was just wondering if you can use this kindle to stream music from live. like pandora through the 3g connection

  3. Although it renders pages ok, like the iPad it does not support flash. Browsing via cursor keys is no fun and the keyboard is terrible – for some reason there are no numbers and you have to use the cursor keys – worse than a phone. If you want to browse the web get an iPad (unless you need flash). If you want to read books though it blows the iPad away, small, light, excellent screen, battery lasts for ages.

  4. Hi,
    I just bought the new Kindle 3 and I was wondering if I will be able to access the internet with my Kindle. Like will I be able to use google, twitter, facebook, . .things of that nature. Or will I only be able to access the place where you can buy e-books??

  5. I am writing this on the Kindle 3. The web browser is basic compared to the iPad. it can handle many websites but do NOT expect all of them to be rendered completly due to the lack of web standards support. The java/cookie support is basic so mot every page will function corectly. That and the lack of flash or shokwave keeps Amazons costs waaaaay down so I am guessing the free 3g is here to stay. Unless they drop the e-nk display those will never be included. But for free 3g? I dont need them lol 😉

  6. Just a simply yes or no. Can you access the internet with a Kindle 3G? It isn’t a hard question…..just yes or no.

    Thank you

  7. I just want to solve a few questions.

    1. Q Can the kindle handle most websites.
    A Yes it can, I own the kindle 3 and it is great for google maps, wiki, blogs, and all through 3G or wifi.

    2. Q quality for PDF
    A Great quality for reading PDF but better to convert to PRC or MOBI format

    3. Q Worth the money? A I would buy it for anyone I know that loves to read

  8. I just noticed @Andy’s posting of Amazon’s responses and how consistently POOR spelling (and written communication) comes from these company’s. Its as if they’re hiring uneducated buffoons. With REAL unemployment rates reaching into the low 20% range, surely there must be some bright people willing to take the places of those who do not understand what excellent written communication is. I just received an email from Best Buy customer service and it reads like a 4th grader wrote it, grammar and spelling errors galore.

    Those who hire these individuals need to be fired.

  9. Web browsing on 3G? UK viewpoint.

    This is a non issue in the UK currently, there are no free 3G browsing restrictions. Of course that could change in the future but for now its a free simple browser. The main issue is the lack of support for complex web sites, flash etc but its fine for webmail and facebook and quick browsing.

    I have even been able to browse exchange web mail using the “simple interface”. Not pretty but you can at least see corp e-mail if the blackberry is dead or you don’t have it! The main 3G limitations here are cost and speed, so it solves the first!

    I think most people would be disappointed if they purchased this solely as a “free browser”. It only makes sense if you also want a great eBook reader in the first instance.

    Over the next few years as data costs come down and WiFi coverage goes up this looks to become less of an issue here.


  10. @Mike: Yes, sometimes people make spelling and grammatical mistakes and, as Tim says, some of the bloggers do not have English as their first language. If you’re going to post a comment that criticises others’ spelling and grammar, then at least make sure your own comment is correct in every respect. The plural of “company” is “companies”, not “company’s”. Your “Its” was also incorrect. It should have been written as “It’s”.

    To bring this this post back “on topic” I’ll add that I love my Kindle 3 with WiFi. I bought it read e-books! I usually have an iphone in my pocket and I can always access the internet in full colour and with full functionality without having to resort to my Kindle. The iphone internet service isn’t free but it isn’t expensive either. In reality, the experimental web browser on the Kindle 3 is a “bit of a dog” and should not be a major factor in choosing to buy a Kindle.

  11. Mike, the plural of company’s is companies and the short form of ‘it is’ is it’s. So be careful when you critise the spelling of others.

  12. Current listing from (in describing Experimental
    features)… New WebKit-Based Browser Kindle’s new web browser is
    based on WebKit to provide a better web browsing experience. Now
    it’s easier than ever to find the information you’re looking for
    right from your Kindle. Experimental web browsing is free to use
    over Wi-Fi. The experimental web browser is currently not available
    for some customers outside the U.S. Check Your Country.
    No mention of 3G.

  13. I’m considering getting a Kindle 3g. I’m in the UK. Does anybody know if I’d be able to use to browse the web in Japan (using the ‘free’ 3g)?



  14. @Tess – are you just looking at the description for the Wireless-only Kindle, rather than the Wireless + 3G Kindle? The current description on the Amazon UK page for the Wireless + 3G Kindle says:
    “New WebKit-Based Browser
    Kindle’s new web browser is based on WebKit to provide a better web browsing experience. Now it’s easier than ever to find the information you’re looking for right from your Kindle. Experimental web browsing is free to use over 3G or Wi-Fi.”


    i live in Canada and have been debating to get the kindle 3g wi-fi. i have read many reviews saying i will not get full internet access because i am not in the states. i just want to know if i will be able to go on common cites, such as google, facebook, hotmail etc. even though i am in Canada.

  16. Hi guys, im reading all your comments here and, you foregtting the main thing. This is a BOOK reader. You buy it to read books. If you want apps, internet etc… why not to buy Ipad? You can’t have all. Price for kindle is quite cheap, but that is why its main function is for reading books.

  17. @Irina sure, it is a book reader; but being able to get on the web for free wherever you go can be worthwhile, even if it is slow.


  18. Its an ebook reader. I would strongly suggest no one getted sucked into paying $50 or about 35% the device value premium.

    Amazon sells the Kindle the way HP sells printers. Its all about ink sales. Amazon is giving tools to sell you books. They have no interest in allowing you free web browsing.

    Its a bold move to attract market share with the 3G bookselling bandwidth they have always had. They had to lower prices which they did – the 3G option with browser is just a tease to get you buying more and perhaps get people who otherwise didnt want the ebook reader. It seems to be working for them.

  19. Graham, Critise isn’t a word. This entire spelling debacle is becoming too meta for my blood.

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