View Full Version : Ideas for Hacking Kindle WiFi


snookums
01-24-2008, 10:08 PM
Some people have stated that they would like to have 802.11 wireless access on the Kindle. When we consider the possibilities for hacking the Kindle to 802.11 enable it, the best bet would probably be the Tivo brand Wireless Adaptor (http://www.amazon.com/TiVo-AG0100-Wireless-Network-Adapter/dp/B000ER5G6C). There are several reasons why it is the best choice in my opinion.


The Tivo Wireless Adaptor (http://www.amazon.com/TiVo-AG0100-Wireless-Network-Adapter/dp/B000ER5G6C) was born for this type of task, i.e. offloading wireless processing from an embedded device with a limited cpu.
It's usb. The Kindle is usb.
There are already work on open source Linux drivers (http://sourceforge.net/projects/tivousbwifi/) for this particular wireless adaptor.
They look so cozy together.


There are other issues obviously. Could the store and browser be forced to recognize a different adaptor? Is the Kindle's usb port setup in such a way that it can be used for this type of communication? Are the current Linux drivers even usable. They are in the alpha phase right now.

I doubt we'll see anything in the next year or so, but there are some possibilities.

NatCh
01-24-2008, 11:09 PM
Two points/questions that occur to me:

Is the Kindle's USB a master USB? I mean, can it power the WIFI adapter?

Tivo WIFI adapters are ... kinda big ... and they connect via a cable. Might a smaller flash-drive-like WIFI dongle be a better choice?

I'm not all that familiar with the Kindle's workings, or I might have a better idea of the answers to those questions already. :shrug:

DaleDe
01-25-2008, 01:06 AM
Two points/questions that occur to me:

Is the Kindle's USB a master USB? I mean, can it power the WIFI adapter?

Tivo WIFI adapters are ... kinda big ... and they connect via a cable. Might a smaller flash-drive-like WIFI dongle be a better choice?

I'm not all that familiar with the Kindle's workings, or I might have a better idea of the answers to those questions already. :shrug:

Being a master is a lot more than just being able to power the unit. Kindle is a slave device that talks to a computer as a master. It is not a master device and is not designed to control another slave unit so it would require a driver change. USB isn't just a serial port, it is a protocol bus master/slave system.

Dale

igorsk
01-25-2008, 11:15 AM
Yes, the USB controller (http://www.nxp.com/pip/ISP1761_4.html) used in Kindle supports USB host mode. In fact, the CDMA modem is connected via USB (using usb2serial module). There is also an unconnected 4-wire socket (http://www.flickr.com/photos/21729510@N03/2109821481/) next to the controller which is most probably the second USB port. I've been thinking about attaching a USB WiFi stick to Kindle after seeing this (http://beta.ivancover.com/wiki/index.php/Eee_PC_Internal_Upgrades) but it's not too high on my todo list...

DaleDe
01-25-2008, 11:37 AM
Yes, the USB controller (http://www.nxp.com/pip/ISP1761_4.html) used in Kindle supports USB host mode. In fact, the CDMA modem is connected via USB (using usb2serial module). There is also an unconnected 4-wire socket (http://www.flickr.com/photos/21729510@N03/2109821481/) next to the controller which is most probably the second USB port. I've been thinking about attaching a USB WiFi stick to Kindle after seeing this (http://beta.ivancover.com/wiki/index.php/Eee_PC_Internal_Upgrades) but it's not too high on my todo list...

Very interesting. Looks like some future products could be really versatile if they wanted to go that way. Planning for the future is a good thing.

Dale

igorsk
01-25-2008, 11:57 AM
BTW another thing on my todo list is SDIO WiFi support for Reader. But that will require quite more work, as the controller specs are closed and there's no driver for Linux available yet...

huevos
04-29-2008, 04:11 PM
any thoughts about a SD Wifi Card? while it probably wont fit under the current rubber cover, im sure something could be done. would be nice to get off the EVDO network to bypass any unwanted automatic firmware upgrades.

aludal
05-12-2008, 05:59 AM
My wishlist for current Kindle is:

-- root console,
-- PDF/DjVu reader,
-- Unicode fonts of ttf/cleartype/opentype qualities,
-- Skype-type cell phone over EVDO,
-- Bittorrent and/or other p2p support to swap titles and whatnot,
-- Co-operative/co-authoring/classroom modes,
-- Opera, anonimizer proxy and openDNS,
-- SD WiFi card,
-- smart dock/keyboard cradle,
-- if above looks doable, then price below $300.

If not, then here's my wishlist for Kindle 2.0:

-- 9+" OLED (or similar) hi-res 65000+ colours touch display,
-- "nicer" outer design, plus maybe hinges to hook Kindle ver 1.0, so that double Kindle will look like an open book,
-- GPS/Glonass tracker,
-- HD H.264 cam plus video player (accordingly, some quality CPU/GPU/mpeg2/mpeg4 chips would be needed),
-- surprise me,
-- and I would consider buying such a reader if below $1K

Igor & Hackers of the World! Kindley Konsider these Kindlehacks!

HarryT
05-12-2008, 06:52 AM
If the EVDO system on the Kindle is "hacked", the inevitable result will be the withdrawal of free internet access on the Kindle. Remember that EVDO data traffic costs Amazon real money. If there's a massive increase in traffic due to someone porting P2P applications onto the Kindle, the inevitable result of people wanting "something for nothing" will be "nothing for anyone"!

Do you really want an OLED display, by the way? Limited lifespan and very easily damaged or destroyed by moisture. Doesn't really sound ideal for a portable device, IMHO.

Alisa
05-12-2008, 02:33 PM
I believe Amazon has promised that Wikipedia search would remain free but they have made it quite clear that access to the rest of the internet is "experimental" and can go away at any moment. Like Harry, I have no doubt that would happen quite quickly if people started doing P2P.

As for the OLED, I think you'd be waiting a long time to get that for under $1K with screen prices as they are. Maybe that could be Kindle 3.0 or 4.0. Harry has a good point about the portability, too, but then I wouldn't view a 9" device as quite as portable as my Kindle. It's more like a laptop or a tablet which I'd carry around in a special padded bag and would be used in a more protected environment. I'd use it at home or at work which is where I really want that large screen. Tech docs at work don't do so well on the Kindle. The Kindle is small and convenient. I still have to protect it with a padded cover but it gets tossed in my handbag and comes out on a train, when I'm waiting in a line, even at the grocery store and my kitchen (it has my shopping list and recipes on it). I do want a large reader someday but I think at that point I'll likely have two (a large and a small) unless they come up with a good folding device.

aludal
05-12-2008, 03:39 PM
If the EVDO system on the Kindle is "hacked", the inevitable result will be the withdrawal of free internet access on the Kindle. Remember that EVDO data traffic costs Amazon real money. If there's a massive increase in traffic due to someone porting P2P applications onto the Kindle, the inevitable result of people wanting "something for nothing" will be "nothing for anyone"!

Do you really want an OLED display, by the way? Limited lifespan and very easily damaged or destroyed by moisture. Doesn't really sound ideal for a portable device, IMHO.

I don't see how Amazon could even think of pulling access to its own titles out of ALL Kindle users. Sounds like seppuku/harakiri to me.Though yes, I can imagine that some diehard bandwidth hogs might be capped, I admit.

I also doubt that Amazon paid any "real" money to any EVDO provider, or roaming service. In Googlespeak, some AdCents changed hands almost invisibly, that's all. All you could see would be an unusual high rank/placement of Sprint spam in your Amazon search results. Click on these once a day, and you've paid for everything including those occasional cell phone calls via your hacked Kindle.

Though yes, I might be wrong on OLED still. It was a promising energy efficient hi-res display technology for handhelds in 2000 or 2001. Pity it didn't evolve. Though I've heard they learn how to vacuum, harden and seal those panels to last 50K+ hours in TVs.

On the other hand, do you have better color hi-res alternatives for Kindle 2.0? Please share. I'm sure some Kindle developers browse these forums, they might be interested. That eInk stuff, how many grey levels is it potentially capable of?

aludal
05-12-2008, 04:57 PM
Alisa said:
"I believe Amazon has promised that Wikipedia search would remain free but they have made it quite clear that access to the rest of the internet is "experimental" and can go away at any moment. Like Harry, I have no doubt that would happen quite quickly if people started doing P2P."
I hope Amazon is not located in People's Republic of China (yet!) where you can really limit access to many domains/proxies/anonymizers etc. I don't believe that that "Whispernet" or whatever has physical capabilities to limit "outside" browsing by Wikipedia only, and say, charge for or outright block access to, say, Google, or Mp3.com, or Craigslist, or any proxy of my choosing.

Some p2p interaction within Kindle/other ereaders communities, to support some swap meets or such, would be IMHO much lesser evil in terms of bandwith wasting than the inevitable mp3/mp4 streaming.

In that sense, I can even understand the logic to go with the weird (some say "ugly") Kindle 1.0 design: if it doesn't look like oversized iPod/other MP3 player there might be less motives to hack it into this direction.

I can withdraw the desirability of 9...9.7" OLEDs for Kindles 2.0, or 3.0: 170...200 dpi 65000 colors 6" Kindle hingeable to another one, and to one's laptop display is just fine, heh.

Ervserver
05-12-2008, 07:05 PM
OH I could see Amazon revoking wireless privileges from someone who has hacked their Kindle

I don't see how Amazon could even think of pulling access to its own titles out of ALL Kindle users. Sounds like seppuku/harakiri to me.Though yes, I can imagine that some diehard bandwidth hogs might be capped, I admit.

I also doubt that Amazon paid any "real" money to any EVDO provider, or roaming service. In Googlespeak, some AdCents changed hands almost invisibly, that's all. All you could see would be an unusual high rank/placement of Sprint spam in your Amazon search results. Click on these once a day, and you've paid for everything including those occasional cell phone calls via your hacked Kindle.

Though yes, I might be wrong on OLED still. It was a promising energy efficient hi-res display technology for handhelds in 2000 or 2001. Pity it didn't evolve. Though I've heard they learn how to vacuum, harden and seal those panels to last 50K+ hours in TVs.

On the other hand, do you have better color hi-res alternatives for Kindle 2.0? Please share. I'm sure some Kindle developers browse these forums, they might be interested. That eInk stuff, how many grey levels is it potentially capable of?

aludal
05-12-2008, 10:09 PM
QUOTE: "OH I could see Amazon revoking wireless privileges from someone who has hacked their Kindle"
This would be what I'd call a harakiri (obviously, non-existent) attitude on the Amazon part. Not gonna happen, ask Igor.

A quite opposite attitude was voiced by Kindle father: very close to invitation to hack.
From the practical point of view, these 126Labs guys could only appreciate hacks that enhance the usability and value of their gadget.

Then again, can someone explain to me, except for thorough "cavity search", how this imaginary Amazon anti-hacking squad can legally determine that this or that particular unit was hacked?

Alisa
05-12-2008, 10:51 PM
It wouldn't be hard at all technically for them to block access to anything but Wikipedia and I don't think it's dictatorial at all to do so if they want. They're paying for it. It isn't free. They wouldn't be saying you couldn't do it, just not on their dime.

aludal
05-13-2008, 12:06 AM
I can see some Kindle-minded admin running a proxy service on one of Wikipedia servers, to open the whole of Internet to Kindle users, but I'm also ready to compromise:
-- unlimited Internet access, capped/controlled Kindle p2p swap meets, unlimited US cell Kindlephone service (Skype, or Gphone/Android style) for a subscription to buy 12 Amazon (e)books a year. Ah, OK, plus maybe some Amazon Kindle bulletin/catalog of forthcoming publications/advance copies' excerpts.

I can even agree to some extremely popular and/or expensive Amazon Kindle titles might have a 1 month-long life time on my Kindle and their text magically fades away if I failed to swap/return it at Amazon for some credit.

With this gadget, there are so many "nice" ways for Amazon to shave their Kindlesheep out of their dimes and nickels than go for mutton

Alisa
05-13-2008, 01:16 AM
I really doubt unlimited cellphone calls would be allowed in their partnership deal with Sprint. I can't imagine any carrier offering that at a price where they could absorb that in the cost of 12 ebooks especially when you figure they're likely taking a loss on the $9.99 bestsellers. That certainly all sounds like an attractive package for the consumer, of course, but they're a business, not a charity. I'm not a sheep, by the way. I just understand the cost of doing business in the real world.

Alisa
05-13-2008, 01:22 AM
I also doubt that Amazon paid any "real" money to any EVDO provider, or roaming service. In Googlespeak, some AdCents changed hands almost invisibly, that's all. All you could see would be an unusual high rank/placement of Sprint spam in your Amazon search results. Click on these once a day, and you've paid for everything including those occasional cell phone calls via your hacked Kindle.


Out of curiosity, I searched for "mobile phone", "cell phone" and just hit the cell phone page through the menus. No Sprint items on the first page. They have them, but they're nowhere near the top.

HarryT
05-13-2008, 02:46 AM
I don't see how Amazon could even think of pulling access to its own titles out of ALL Kindle users. Sounds like seppuku/harakiri to me.

No, what I meant was that, if the machine is "opened up" to general internet applications, what I suspect would happen would be that the EVDO access would be restricted to ONLY downloading books; all other access would be shut off.

Alisa
05-13-2008, 01:03 PM
No, what I meant was that, if the machine is "opened up" to general internet applications, what I suspect would happen would be that the EVDO access would be restricted to ONLY downloading books; all other access would be shut off.

Well, downloading books/browsing the store and Wikipedia. They've said they'll keep all that free. From a networking perspective, that's is very easy to do. Now if they start offering the WiFi model that folks have been speculating about, or if people actually mod Kindle 1.0 to use Wifi (the original topic of this thread) then I could see them not minding you using whatever bandwidth-hogging app you could hack into the thing.

brecklundin
05-20-2008, 03:00 AM
I really doubt unlimited cellphone calls would be allowed in their partnership deal with Sprint. I can't imagine any carrier offering that at a price where they could absorb that in the cost of 12 ebooks especially when you figure they're likely taking a loss on the $9.99 bestsellers. That certainly all sounds like an attractive package for the consumer, of course, but they're a business, not a charity. I'm not a sheep, by the way. I just understand the cost of doing business in the real world.

Actually, on my Nokia N800 you can make all the calls I want with Skype, Gizmo and SIP clients...all over wifi. In my case I have an UNLIMTED EVDO Rev A data plan via Millenicom over the Spint/Alltel network for $50/mo and associated hardware to allow connecting on the go to the EVDO network. I stream video/audio too (mostly on my laptop becuase the N800 is very FUSSY about video) and average around 150-180gb data/mo. So a good deal on that option is not out of the question.

The key to something like that though is the CPU/DSP in the device. Bandwidth is low no matter what service...56k of available bandwidth is all a person needs for a call. But as of now the Kindle does not have the processing power to make calls.

Perhaps adding VoIP to the device might, and I mean might, justify the fact Amazon is NOT going to drop the price. I could see Amazon offering an LCD version of the Kindle that is more tablet PC like which integrates with Amazon Unboxed video.

aludal
05-27-2008, 02:27 PM
To brecklundin:

-- do you know how good or bad Nokia N95 or N99 is with streaming video/TV?

Well, in any case it looks like one might better wait for 9" Kindle 2.0 (with colour touch (O)LED, more horsepower for video/graphics stylus input, to hack it into, or just upgrade it into an art panel/book commenting/authoring/co-operating tool/cell phone/personal TV/video player/EVDO modem for laptop/GPS, or all above and whatnot

brecklundin
05-30-2008, 01:37 AM
To brecklundin:

-- do you know how good or bad Nokia N95 or N99 is with streaming video/TV?

Well, in any case it looks like one might better wait for 9" Kindle 2.0 (with colour touch (O)LED, more horsepower for video/graphics stylus input, to hack it into, or just upgrade it into an art panel/book commenting/authoring/co-operating tool/cell phone/personal TV/video player/EVDO modem for laptop/GPS, or all above and whatnot

Sorry I have zero experience with the N95 or N99. The issue might be different as those are actually smart phones vs. the N8x0 devices are classed as internet tablets.

My solution for the whole thing is I am going to buy myself a present because I am doing all my remodeling of the house myself this summer. So with part of the cash I will save, apart for the need for a couple extra buckets of Vicodin as a result of all the home, ummm, improvements, but I am gonna get a TabletKiosk Sahara i440D Slate PC. It's everything I have been wanting. I will likely have the sell blood and possiably a lung and a kidney. But by the gawds I am gonna own one by the end of June. I am ordering next week. :) Then I will have my N800, my laptops as well as the Sahara Slate. weeeeeeeee....

Sorry I could not offer any help on the video for your devices though. Have you visited the Nokia Users site thought? There might be some tools there where you can either view streams and/or re-encode captured or ripped video to a format your device can play. I am unsure if they can play either Amazon Unboxed or iTunes but it would seem to make sense they could.

There might be a copy of mplayer for the N9x devices. And if it has the correct codecs at least the potential to play video is there. I might add ( forget what I previously mentioned and am too lazy to re-read it all...hehehehe...forgive me for being a lazy, lazy guy...) but the reason the N8x0 devices have probs is due to the encoding settings for most video streams. I am sure I mentioned it's simply fussy and needs a format at about 400x200 @ 24fps. And there is a great tool from Nokia to convert videos in a batch to run on your device.

Anyway, in case you dint know it exists here is a link to the offical Nokia site with software (free of course) for your devices:

http://www.nseries.com/index.html#l=applications,landing

I am not sure if there is a site similar to the http://garage.maemo.org which is the Nokia supported site for those developing applications for the internet tablets running ITOS2008.

One day, maybe before I get run over by that bus with my name on it, we'll see common sense video streaming where the servers can re-encode for your device on the fly. It WILL happen. I actually see Amazon looking to create so way to stream video to their own device...or not. But somehow I feel that is a few decades out...hehehehehe....

Alisa
05-30-2008, 02:04 AM
In my case I have an UNLIMTED EVDO Rev A data plan via Millenicom over the Spint/Alltel network for $50/mo and associated hardware to allow connecting on the go to the EVDO network.

You're paying Sprint $50/month. That's not quite the same as getting unlimited calls through your Kindle If you could do it on your Kindle, would you still be paying Sprint $50/month? Still Amazon likely pays based on bandwidth used so I doubt they'd want to float that.

aludal
06-14-2009, 08:00 PM
or whatever is up now, stubbornly didn't do much in improving the core functionalty. Hopefully it's the same in hackability (isn't it so, igorsk? are you alive still? haven't heard from you lately....). So I'd rather refine my requirements for a "desirable" Kindle 4.0 (or 5.0?):
-- full support of Unicode, CJKV, PDF, OpenOffice, all major ebook formats: one just cannot be "half-pregnant";
-- Pixel Qi technology (touch) 9...10" screen, leave that eInk stuff for cheaper (<$150) Kindle2 level or so models ;
-- Linux tablet formfactor, with a bigger battery, "netbook" (Atom 1.7 GHz, or better) architecture. Maybe slider type keyboard;
-- all the major cell radios (or at least upgradeable to whatever), plus WiFi, WiMax, magicJack "life" (I presume it's extra $150) support over WiFi as a base option;
-- you say your last creature is also useful for college students, let's do it really really useful: a good camera capable of making good shots of whatever pages of textbooks one such student can lay his hands in his/her university, or public (free) library. Good OCR software for it. Art students would love a decent video camera, to simultaneously record some technique demonstration classes while doodling their own masterpieces on the tablet;
-- did you know that "partially available" books in GoogleBooks are actually available in full, one just needs to do enough "smart" googlesearches on a text of a book in question. There should be some scripts/routines doing it for you automagically. Amazon's elibrary is a microscopic non-entity compared to what GoogleBooks has an access to;
-- sure all the original netbook/tablet functionality stays, and with a price tag of $500....$800 you being a poor student can save on a separate netbook ($350....$500) and even separate "smart" phone (smarting you out of ~$1K a year, nicht wahr?)

pmul
07-02-2009, 12:42 PM
Hi,
old thread, but interesting, as I am about to receive a Kindle 1, and I live in Germany.
If I understand you correctly, then:
1) There may be a free USB port inside the Kindle 1.
2) Assuming this is the case, a suitable WiFi stick could work, but would need patching of the Linux Kernel?
3) Other than that, the internal Modem is connected via usb2serial, meaning that one could also theoretically connect a TTL(3V?)<->Serial connector here (possibly cutting the lines to the existing modem), and then one could emulate the internal modem via program running on a PC that would then allow tethered access to the Amazon store, etc. without the need for Whisprenet?

Or am I totally on the wrong track(s)?
Regards
,Philip

aludal
07-03-2009, 03:09 AM
Lese mehr: http://igorsk.blogspot.com/. Google.com ist dein Freund.
Jokes aside:
0. Kindle 2 is quite a bit better choice for the same money. However, I suppose you "receive" your K-1 as a gift? then yes, it's for "deep" hacking.:)
1. There might be a (free) USB port/hub inside, or holes in the PCB to DIY your own. Try to ask Igor.
2. probably.
3. Are you talking about adding WiFi/tethered access as opposed to Whispernet? do you guys have a carrier/Deutsche Whispernet to play with Kindles' lifetime free online access in Germany? If not, then yeah, you might want to get yourself WiFi module and make it work. Again, ask Igor -- even if he stopped jailbreaking this Kindle toy (I presume Amazon bought him, when they realized Igor can mod and hack it into something monstrous like I described in my post above yours)

HarryT
07-03-2009, 03:29 AM
do you guys have a carrier/Deutsche Whispernet to play with Kindles' lifetime free online access in Germany?

No, there are no CDMA carriers in western Europe - we're all GSM (and its successors).

aludal
07-09-2009, 10:48 PM
then Genosse pmul might need to hack his Kindle into a WiFi device. igorsk is again an ultimate guru in this

carld
07-09-2009, 11:21 PM
No, what I meant was that, if the machine is "opened up" to general internet applications, what I suspect would happen would be that the EVDO access would be restricted to ONLY downloading books; all other access would be shut off.

I agree, I have no doubt whatsoever that Amazon will kill Kindle web access with great haste if it gets hacked into a free connection, no doubt at all, and I wouldn't blame them a bit.

aludal
07-10-2009, 04:13 AM
It was hacked into "a free Web connection" 15 months ago or so, on a direct invitation of the Amazon's Kindle top man. Sure, he sorta took his words back very soon, but the jailbreak is out, sorry. On the other hand, the WiFi hack is untraceable, and no amount of "cease and desist" threats could stop its spread.
However, I kinda lost much interest in hacking Kindles 1, 2, or DX. Unless their next model would be somewhat along the lines I described in my post #25, that is.

aludal
07-22-2009, 02:58 PM
Amazon is digging themselves a bigger and deeper hole with Kindle "borrowed" books:

Editors from Columbia's Science and Technology Law Review explained to us a year ago the pitfalls of not owning your Kindle books, a fact that Amazon revealed to be more horrifying than we thought. Guess what? It's worse.

Slate's Farhad Manjoo points out more reasons (bothered from Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain) why we should be absolutely terrified of "tethered" devices like the Kindle, especially if we're headed toward a truly paperless and discless future, where books, movies and music are all downloaded. Imagine if there were no paper copies of 1984, and Amazon—or whatever company wins the ereader war—deleted it. Or any other book or film that's been banned at one point. It's much easier, after all, to delete them off of a million devices than to actually pull one thousand paper copies out of people's houses. A possibility that's more, uh, possible with breakthroughs like self-destructing data. (One more reason we'll always need something like BitTorent, more than ever in the future, not less.)

If hypotheticals aren't your thing, take the 2004 TiVo vs. Echostar patent infringement case. When TiVo won, the judge ruled that Dish didn't just have to stop selling infringing DVR boxes, they had to actually remotely kill the boxes they'd already sold. Boxes they had installed in people's houses.

Granted, Jonathan Zittrain is the same crazy guy who says that the iPhone is killing the internet, but you know, this time he actually seems kinda right! I hope he's still just crazy though. [Slate]
All the unhacked Kindle owners should probably take a note: if one day you have your Orwell amz books deleted you may be sure you live in a Orwellian world where your TV watches you and your Kindle reads you.

In other words, the WiFi jailbreak should not be discussed as just feasible, it and bittorent hack might be the only ways to truly own your ebooks -- apart from memorizing them 451 Fahrenheit style, of course.