Kindle Free Internet: Is It Really Free?
We're all a little skeptical when we see the words "Kindle free Internet" all in the same phrase. After all -- we're always hearing about how companies like Apple and Verizon knick their customers for every little piece of bandwidth they use, so how are we supposed to trust something that says "free Internet?" Well, as it turns out, there's a simple explanation. And I learned it from a friend who got a Kindle 3G just a couple weeks ago. Here's how the Kindle free Internet thing works: You purchase a Kindle 3G + Wifi device, not the Kindle + Wifi device that does not have 3G enabled. The Kindle 3G + Wifi is about $50 more than the device without 3G enabled, so that's where the monetary difference comes in. With the 3G-enabled Kindle, you pay the $50 extra to get a lifetime of free Internet. Amazon literally pays for the 3G contract, which uses AT&T's global GSM coverage. As long as you're only browsing the Internet, you'll always get free web browsing wherever there's an AT&T 3G network in the area. It's basically like owning a cell phone, only without the contract. The Kindle free Internet comes in wherever you're near an AT&T signal -- which, by the way, is located in at least 100 countries. Which brings me to the next point -- you can get Kindle free Internet anywhere around the globe as long as you have a signal! Isn't that cool? You never have to pay roaming fees, either. You just hook right into the 3G network, and bada-bing, bada-boom! Instant Kindle free Internet. Now, Amazon does give you a word of warning before downloading tons of stuff to your Kindle while going hog-wild browsing your free Internet. They will charge you if you intend to download a lot of data -- like a new ebook or a subscription to "Marie Claire" magazine, perhaps. But other than that, you're good to go with browsing. So how exactly do you browse the Internet on a Kindle 3G? You browse with a new Webkit browser, which is still in its experimental stage but works like a charm wherever it's supported. And for typing? Don't worry about fitting your fingers on the screen to type on a touch pad. The keyboard is located right below your screen for easy access and quick typing. The circular buttons are raised so you can feel your way around easily and not be constantly searching for the little buttons on a screen. So how does Amazon do all of this without a contract? I was a little baffled at first, but evidently, that $50 you paid up front really does cover everything. Amazon figures that it's easier to convince their customers to get a Kindle 3G knowing it has "free" Internet rather than making them pay a monthly contract and losing their sales to Apple for its much more costly iPad. In fact, that $50 difference actually just pays for the 3G compatibility in the Kindle. The Kindle free Internet feature really is free, so that $50 has little to do with the cost of the service and more to do with the benefit of getting 3G access to begin with. There's one more thing about the Kindle free Internet that I didn't have room to about here. But if you want to know what it is, I highly recommend visiting http://www.squidoo.com/3g-kindle to get the answer. But hurry -- who knows when Amazon might discontinue this feature, so get your Kindle 3G with free Internet before they change their minds!
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