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Old 05-31-2010, 12:58 PM   #1
wallcraft
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engadget: August Kindle is Shasta, with WiFi

From Engadget's Slim Amazon Kindle 'Shasta' to be first with WiFi?:
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The screencap above displaying the results of an internal Amazon device query shows entries for "Shasta" and "Shasta WiFi." That would seem to indicate that Amazon's next reader will launch in two flavors: WiFi + 3G and 3G-only (our source isn't sure). There's even an outside chance that one could be a WiFi-only device.
Shasta is a volcano in the Cascades.

Engadget is assuming this is the same August device as previously reported (Bloomberg: new Kindle in August).

As usual, this raises more questions than answers. My first question is why would Amazon sell two Kindles? When its "Kindle is best selling on Amazon" claim revolves around the Kindle coming with no options (any color you want so long as it is white). So I would not be surprised if there is only one Stasta, with both WiFi and 3G (or alternatively, that Amazon offers multiple colors - completely breaking with the no base options approach). Otherwise pick any two out of WiFi, 3G, 3G+WiFi.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:09 PM   #2
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Hopefully one doesn't have 3G so they can get the price under $200.
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
From Engadget's Slim Amazon Kindle 'Shasta' to be first with WiFi?:

As usual, this raises more questions than answers. My first question is why would Amazon sell two Kindles? When its "Kindle is best selling on Amazon" claim revolves around the Kindle coming with no options (any color you want so long as it is white). So I would not be surprised if there is only one Stasta, with both WiFi and 3G (or alternatively, that Amazon offers multiple colors - completely breaking with the no base options approach). Otherwise pick any two out of WiFi, 3G, 3G+WiFi.
They wouldn't sell different devices, it would just be confusing. Like Nook it would have wifi+3G, and won't cost more just because it also has wifi. It's not clear why Apple charges $130 for 3G capability on top of wifi for iPad, except that the requirements are more demanding. Kindle devices capable of using wifi would actually save Amazon money vs usage of 3G, since they would not have to pay for it.

Where I live I would mostly use my home network wifi over our broadband, since there's no 3G locally. EDGE is really slow...
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:13 PM   #4
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I wonder if the product differentiation (wifi, 3G, wi-fi+3G) is part of Amazon's move towards a 3G data plan-as they develop their App Store, the 3G data consumption could be much greater as new apps appear for the device...at least, well beyond the book store buying/rudimentary web browsing it does now.

The wifi units could sell for considerably less if Whispernet weren't part of the equation.
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:24 PM   #5
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I wonder if the product differentiation (wifi, 3G, wi-fi+3G) is part of Amazon's move towards a 3G data plan-as they develop their App Store, the 3G data consumption could be much greater as new apps appear for the device...at least, well beyond the book store buying/rudimentary web browsing it does now.

The wifi units could sell for considerably less if Whispernet weren't part of the equation.
I disagree. Nook includes both 3G and wifi, and sells for the same price as Kindle, for basically the same components (replace keyboard with touch screen). iPad charges $130 more for 3G hardware, but it is a more demanding device, and Apple generates no direct income as a result of people using it (unless there's some revenue sharing with AT&T that we don't know about). By contrast 95%+ of 3G access of a typical Kindle is associated with purchasing activity so Amazon is happy to subsidize 3G hardware/usage in return for that captive audience.

I don't think many would want a wifi only Kindle, even if it saved $50 on the purchase. 3G is just too convenient a proposition when you don't have to pay a contract. Amazon wants you to be always connected. Disconnected customers can't purchase anything. Wifi is just icing on the cake for a smaller base that is outside 3G coverage, or for whom wifi is faster than 3G.

As for apps, you'll be charged a subscription or it will be built in to the cost of the app. So app users will pay for additional 3G bandwidth required (over 100Kb/month). (from KDK FAQ). Of course Amazon can still change the policy, as there are no apps now.

Last edited by tomsem; 05-31-2010 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:28 PM   #6
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Removing 3G isn't such a great idea ... unless adding WiFi to the 3G line-up can be done without "adding cost" to the Kindle 2.

I can see a place for a WiFi-only Kindle, and a souped up 3G+WiFi Kindle. If removing 3G and adding WiFi makes it possible to offer a $149 Kindle ... that's pretty interesting. It has no long-term liability in 3G charges for surfing the web at AT&T/Amazon's expense ... but it loses the "3G anywhere" capability which sets the Kindle apart from every other e-reader including the iPad.

What about a Kindle 3 with a few more features: all the 2.5 stuff, a sans serif font, WiFi, the latest higher contrast screen technology, perhaps an improved keyboard ... all for $259.

Then punt the current Kindle 2 technology, screen capacity, keyboard and WiFi instead of 3G with the 2.5 release ... at $149ish? Although WiFi is nice, 3G -- as Amazon and AT&T have implemented it -- is seamless. Turn it on: it works. WiFi ain't that str8-forward. But then again, typically, it's free.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:49 PM   #7
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I highly doubt Amazon will remove the 3G. I am not a Kindle owner, but since day one of the Kindle the ability for people to own, use and buy books without a PC anywhere has been a big plus for the Kindle. Combine that with the Nook with its 3G, they'd be mad to remove it.

I can see a Kindle being offered with wifi though
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:02 AM   #8
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With current ebook pricing, Whispernet is paid for with book purchases; plenty of profit margin in the price-fixed books to subsidize it for the competitively priced books.

If Amazon wants to do a dirt-cheap loss-leader Kindle all they have to do is take out the browser or code it to work off the WiFi only. Whispersync sells Kindles, the browser (so far) doesn't. No reason to drop the 3G unless it is for an international version and even there a solution would be to sell the 3G version without a SIM card.

A Kindle without 3G would have to be a real cheap kindle, like US$99. And odds are, they can hit that price point *with* 3G.
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Old 06-03-2010, 01:09 PM   #9
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I'd be really surprised if they offered a model without 3G. It would be a step backward.

But the addition of wifi would be really cool. It would be great if Kindle documents would show as a folder on my home network -- much easier to add new stuff, manage, etc.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:40 PM   #10
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Have you ever considered the idea that those WiFi "3G-less" are European market oriented devices?
There are virtually no 3G ereaders sold in Europe, because 3G is virtually unusable and useless
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:50 PM   #11
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Kindle with 3G has been sold in most of Europe, plus other countries, for some time now.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:52 PM   #12
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Have you ever considered the idea that those WiFi "3G-less" are European market oriented devices?
There are virtually no 3G ereaders sold in Europe, because 3G is virtually unusable and useless
I really don't know what you mean by that; the main selling point of the Kindle has always been its wireless access to the Kindle bookstore (and that works just fine in Europe). Take that away and you're left with a rather mediocre reader.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:59 PM   #13
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Yeah, I'd be surprised if they took out the 3G. If anything they'll just add WiFi to take strain of the 3G usage (and speed up browsing etc.) when people are near a WiFi hot spot.

But maybe they could make a wifi only version for countries where they've had trouble negotiating a free 3G deal with local cell providers etc.

For me personally, I don't care that much about the 3G as I've only gotten books at home were I could have used WiFi and I don't travel all that much. I just like not having to hook up to a computer and drag and drop, don't care that much if it's 3G or WiFi or both.

The bigger appeal for me is just the Amazon store which I've found to have a great selection and usually to have the lowest price on the stuff I read (mainstream stuff).
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Old 06-03-2010, 04:01 PM   #14
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Kindle with 3G has been sold in most of Europe, plus other countries, for some time now.
It is delivered from overseas and you have to pay extra import taxes: you call it sold in Europe?
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:46 PM   #15
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Actually, I realize now that Amazon uses the 3G Whispersync for page synchronization between devices-that seems like a pretty important feature for them.
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