Amazon Cracks Down on Kindle Web Browsing

When the Kindle launched in late 2007 it came with an experimental web browser as well as free web browsing over the 3g connection. As nice as that was to have, all good things come to an end. There are reports over at MobileRead today that Amazon has imposed a 3g bandwidth cap on some users. MR user Chamekke was surprised earlier this week while using their Kindle 3G:

I was using the browser when it popped up a message to say that I’d hit my 50 MB monthly limit of 3G Web access on my Kindle 3G. When I clicked the ‘OK’ button (which was my only choice, really), I got a second message saying that I’d have 24 hours of grace to continue to use 3G for Web browsing, but that after that I could use 3G only for visiting Amazon.com, Wikipedia, and the Kindle Store. Otherwise I will be obligated to use Wi-Fi.

From what I can tell, this new bandwidth cap was imposed at the start of July.

Now, as you probably know, the Kindle Touch lunched last fall with browsing over the 3g completely blocked, both in the US and without. This has led some to continue to buy the K3, which until recently didn’t have any restrictions imposed on the 3g connection (aside from when it simply wasn’t available). This was one of the K3′s nicer features (especially once we learned that the Kindle Touch lacked it), and it led to the Kindle being regarded as a precursor to you-know-what:

But it is only fair that I point out that Amazon has had this policy in place for some time now, even though I’ve never heard of it being enforced before. Here’s the relevant section of the K3 support pages:

The Experimental Web Browser is currently only available for some customers outside of the United States and may be limited to 50MB of browsing over 3G per month. This limit does not apply when customers are browsing over Wi-Fi.

Some are saying that this rule is being enforced because of the instruction on how to hack your Kindle and get free 3g data connection for your laptop. They were posted back in February, and I’m not sure they had anything to do with this.

That free web browsing was an expense that Amazon took on so they could get more people interested in the Kindle. It was a promotional item which cost Amazon money everyday. It was a constant drain on their purse and like all freebies it had to go away at some point. That’s simply how things work.

image by Try Stan

22 thoughts on “Amazon Cracks Down on Kindle Web Browsing

  1. I haven’t received a warning yet but I only use 3G relatively rarely. However, when I use it Usually just to check my e-mail or train schedule but it has proven to be invaluable when abroad.

  2. I’ve not used the browser much as it’s clunky and I usually have better choices available to me for surfing but I’m outside the US right now so I’ll see if I run up against the limit. Thanks for the heads up!

    1. You mean the restriction does not apply to people outside the U.S., which is a small percentage of the ownership base.

  3. Per xkcd’s license (xkcd.com/license.html), you should probably at least link that comic to the page if you’re not going to credit it directly.

  4. I’ve owned a couple of Kindles with 3G, and I don’t think anyone who uses the browser is going to get to 50MB in a month. It would be excrucating.
    This must be targeted at tetherers.

      1. Err, I thought you _pay_ 0.15US$/Mb for books via Kindle Personal Documents. or you mean downloading free books via browser?

  5. Pingback: Amazon Kindle

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