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Kindle Browser Revamped

David Gilbert

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Kindle Browser Revamped

The reviews of the latest Amazon Kindle have been pretty complimentary across the board and it even bagged the runner-up spot in our Product of the Year 2010 Awards. However one gripe some had with the ebook reader was its poor inbuilt browser. Considering the £149 mobel came with free lifetime 3G anywhere in the world, this was a significant drawback.

Fear not though, as Kinstant is here to save your frustrated fingers. Kinstant is a customizable homepage, which has been updated to allow for optimized mobile browsing. Save Kinstant as your home-page and you will have automatic access to Kindle-friendly versions of many sites including Gmail, CNN, BBC and other news sites. There are also other Category pages, which will give you further list of sites, plus headlines and summaries for that subject.

While Kinstant is not going to give you the full functionality of a regular browser, it will bring a whole new dimension to the Kindle, especially the 3G version. It will be handy for those who do a lot of travelling and want to check the latest news or read their emails on the go. The new version of Kinstant also allows you to add in your own links, either direct from the Kindle or from a proper web-browser somewhere else. Just add the regular website address and when you click the link, you will be taken to a vastly simplified version formatted for the e-reader.

And that’s not all. Kinstant has added a calculator and Google Maps. This will allow you to add your location and destination and you get directions on an embedded map with the route marked. Kinstant is free to download and available here.

Retset

December 14, 2010, 5:33 pm

Sounds good.





I keep toying with the idea of a Kindle but have failed to work out if the 3G one is worth the extra. Can somebody who has the 3G version answer one query for me? If you take it to our nearer European neighbours (France, Holland and Germany interest me most) does the browser allow regular web use or just the Kindle Store?

OldTimer

December 14, 2010, 6:50 pm

Browser works in France and Hong Kong that I have tried so far. For full web

Ian Loynes

December 14, 2010, 6:53 pm

Hi I was in the canary Islands recently and could view any website I likes on my Kindle - Fantastic, no idea why they do this for free really!!!

SRS

December 14, 2010, 6:57 pm

A misleading title; not a revamp of the Kindle Browser at all, but a Kindle-optimised webpage.





The Kindle 3 Browser is ok, actually - it's webkit based (but no flash of course!).


However, the Kindle DX Browser is awful, just horrible - and for some reason Amazon won't update the Kindle DX to run the 3's software. No idea why, but worth avoiding a DX until Amazon rectifies this.





@Retset - yes the browser allows regular web use in Europe, but it's slow. You'll run out of patience long before you run out of web to browse. And, unlike the Kindle 3, most pages render so badly on the DX, it matters little where you are.

Andrys

December 14, 2010, 8:12 pm

SRS,


I have pictures of the older DX (same software) doing the web and I don't experience horrific webpages as you do. These are at bit.ly/dxpics





However, if a site like the main twitter.com site uses colors that translate to almost black in e-ink, yes, that can be horrible. That's less prevalent, but I also much prefer BASIC mode access in DX and Kindle 2 which gives you fonts in readable size relative to the Kindle 3's tiny fonts and B&W rather than translations of colors to Gray, which probably is responsible for your horror experiences. With the K3, having to zoom in PARTIALLY and scroll is not something I like nor is fit-to-width where the fonts are tiny. The old Kindles reflow the text in BASIC mode.





Even the mobile sites of the Kindle 3 can have problems right now with input capability and even with navigation. I use alternate URLS as a result, with the Kindle 3. Not always the usual mobile ones and I offer a free file for download with those URLS.


Since the access is free, I just find myself with more patience.





The DX is likely to be updated eventually since the Pearl screen has the same capabilities as the Kindle 3's. They seem to have their hands in all kinds of software additions and changes lately.





The mobile pages in BASIC rather than DESKTOP mode will help your experience.





In both devices (K3 and DX), web browser requests to open a new window result


in the Kindles not following that request at all, therefore the link isn't even


followed or any page opened. They have to work on that too.





- Andrys


A Kindle World blog

mark

December 14, 2010, 9:49 pm

A web browser; now that is a useful extra.


Out in the car, see a new bird, check on the web for id. Yup, it says green on the wing with blue stripe, just what I need except...........colour!!





I am watching the colour e-readers develop but will keep my wallet in my pocket for now.





Note to Amazon: I really would be interested if you did a colour Kindle at a sensible price please!

Retset

December 15, 2010, 1:46 am

Thanks all for the help. I am mainly thinking about Gmail and the odd thing that I really need to look up. Not too worried about a seamless surfing experience across a lot of image heavy sites.





Think I will have to do the deal :)

Castalan

December 15, 2010, 1:10 pm

Mrs Castalan absolutely loves her kindle 3 - it is hardly ever out of her hands. When I bought it for her she was a bit dubious as she likes reading books - and downloads alot onto her Sony TZ - but that has stopped completely.





As for the web browser - if you absolutely positively must have a quick look at the internet and there is absolutely no other means to hand it's ok - and a nice final resort - but that's it.





Just use something else - it feels a bit like logging into an MVS system and browsing the web - it can be done - but you really really don't want to.

Epic

December 15, 2010, 1:52 pm

@Retset - Kindle3 browser works fine in Holland and isn't restricted to the Amazon/Kindle store. I've even used it on a North Sea ferry on the maritime 3G network which must have cost Amazon a few quid.





As others have said - keep in mind that the browser should really be considered as a handy extra rather than something you'd want to use on a regular basis - it's slow and the restricted navigation and the lack of the ability to open links in a new window all serve to frustrate. The Kindle primary function of reading books is still where it excels - if you want one buy it for this - not for web browsing.

Retset

December 15, 2010, 2:09 pm

Yes, I do mainly want it for books, along with a handy way to read PDF manuals.





And I have ordered it :D

PaulW

December 15, 2010, 2:18 pm

I bought a WiFi only Kindle 3 about a month ago, and think its incredible! The best £110 I have spent in ages. I pondered about getting the 3G version, but now I have tried the "browser" using a 10Mb WiFi network I am glad I didn't go for the 3G version. Browsing is not one of the Kindles strengths (& not what I bought it for!).

HarryGlass

December 16, 2010, 3:12 pm

Just bought a Kindle for my mum for Xmas, thanks to everyone who posted here who unwittingly convinced me it was a great little machine. I decided on the 3G version, sure the browser ain't wondrous but it'll do in a pinch and for her more than anything being able to check her email anywhere in the world will be invaluable (after her £250 bill for checking her emails when she was in Australia earlier this year!!!).

Arctic Fox

December 16, 2010, 4:39 pm

Have the Kindle 3 with 3G and Wifi myself and the browser appears to work in 3G mode over the whole of Scandinavia (I live in Norway). It is pretty limited (Amazon say that themselves, describing it as "experimental".) but is of use for webmail and simple googling. For the money a great piece of kit, do not regret buying for a split second. Having an entire library in your pocket on the move and being able to buy books and periodicals when ever you feel like it is great.

Corzair

December 18, 2010, 10:55 pm

I have the wifi Kindle myself and found Kinstant.com quite useful with a a few sites i was having problems with - esp ones that want to open a separate window!

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