Tuesday, January 5, 2010

kindle wireless update

This ebook reader wireless business threatens to strip away the few remaining vestiges of sanity I have. And I'm convinced more and more that the AT&T logo is indeed the death star.

A quote from the Amazon web page:

"Due to strong customer demand for the newest Kindle, we are consolidating our family of 6" Kindles. The new Kindle has 3G wireless that works in the United States and also globally in over 100 countries. We will continue to fully support Whispernet for all U.S.-only Kindles. You can buy used and refurbished versions of the U.S.-only Kindle on this page."

My completely unfounded explanation is that the Kindle global has a different wireless chip set from the Kindle US - GSM vs. CDMA. AT&T is their primary GSM provider. Sprint was their primary CDMA provider. Never the twain shall meet.

This switch over is not good news for Montana customers. Sprint had wireless partners in Montana to extend their coverage. I've always presumed it was Verizon. Verizon has very good coverage in Montana and even 3G in spots.

AT&T provides NO 3G service in Montana. I continue to be mystified by the AT&T commercial where they cite Bozeman, MT as a spot with 3G service. But they do partner with other carriers to provide less than 3G service. For example my wireless provider, Cellular One, is an AT&T partner.

I don't think the 3G less than 3G is a huge issue. When you're downloading books, magazines, etc., they're pretty small files and you'll get them fairly quickly over any wireless connection. But I expect that the coverage map for Montana will show a lot more blank spots following their move to a new provider. Make sure to check the map and ask customer service for clarification.
Wireless coverage map.

Kindle 2 US wireless devices are still available used and refurbished. I find it interesting that almost all of them are more expensive than new.

And we can be hopeful that the Barnes & Noble Nook and Sony Reader Daily Edition, which both use AT&T wireless, will also have wireless partners within Montana. If so, I'd expect that their actual service map would resemble the Kindle's more than AT&T's 3G map.

We're just going to need some more first hand accounts. So, I want to hear from all of you with ebook readers. How's the wireless? How's the overall experience?

And if you're still procrastinating over purchasing an ebook reader, relax. There will probably be a lot of new devices unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. So, we can all be even more confused!