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Amazon crimps free Kindle 3G surfing

Exercises option to restrict browsing after 50MB of web access

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The free ride is over: owners of early Amazon Kindles that included free global access to 3G networks will now have their ability to surf the net crimped.

Kindle owners could access the Internet thanks to the experimental browser included in some early models of the e-reader. The browser used the same connection 3G-equipped Kindles use to download books, and offered access to as much of the world wide web as readers could tolerate. That probably wasn't much, as the browser rendered slowly and pages did not look their best on the Kindle's screen.

Some users spotted the fact that the Kindle could pull off this trick (XKCD's strip on the subject may have helped) and found the device a decent way to get online across the globe. Some are now complaining the trick isn't working any more. This forum post, for example, says at least one Kindle has told its owners they've burned thorough their monthly 50MB allowance and will be restricted to visiting Amazon.com Wikipedia and the Kindle Store until the calendar flips over to a new month.

The fine print in Kindle documentation mentions the limit and says it “may” be enforced. Amazon seems to be exercising that option.

Newer Kindles don't have the problem, because they were never offered free 3G access to the Web.

Owners of old-school Kindles can still surf to their hearts' content on WiFi. ®

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