Amazon to charge more for some Kindle features

I got an email today from Amazon about my Kindle.  Well, not my Kindle specifically, but Kindle Whispernet use in general.  Whispernet is the warm and fuzzy Amazon name for the Sprint 3g network.  This email tried to make me feel good by telling me that the personal documents feature now supports more formats, including DOCX and RTF files.  Groovy.  It then proceeds to tell me that the charge for sending these personal documents to my Kindle via Whispernet will now cost fifteen cents per megabyte.  While that really does not affect me, since I don’t do much of this, it will affect others who use Whispernet for RSS feeds. 

I already pay for many of the feeds I get, so this means little to me, but others who use it extensively, will be paying quite a bit for something that was originally touted as ‘free’.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a huge problem for paying for service, but, in this case, I think Amazon should rethink this.  The cost of the device alone – and the supposed reason why it is so high – should negate that charge.

I love my Kindle and use it every day.  One of the things I do use is the wireless internet browsing.  I don’t use it a tremendous amount because of its limitations, but I do use it.  I am waiting for the day when Amazon starts charging for that as well.  They would be foolish to do so.  No one will want to buy the thing if they know there will be additional charges for the wireless aspect, which is the big reason they cost so much.

One other thing that bugs me…where’s the third party development?  This thing runs embedded Linux and Java.  Surely someone has hacked it to allow third party apps.  Amazon should open it up and put out an SDK.  Just a thought.

Below is the text of the mail I got.

Dear Kindle Customer,

As someone who has recently sent personal documents to a Kindle, you might like to know about some updates to our Personal Document Service (via Whispernet).

Starting May 4, in addition to the existing list of supported file types (DOC, HTML, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TXT, AZW, MOBI, PRC), you can send RTF files to your Kindle email address for convenient wireless delivery. In addition to the existing experimental support of PDF, you can also send DOCX files for conversion. Some complex PDF and DOCX files might not format correctly on your Kindle.

We have also modified the fee associated with sending personal documents wirelessly to your Kindle. This fee is now based on the size of your file. The fee for Personal Document Service (via Whispernet) is $0.15 per megabyte rounded up to the next whole megabyte.

If you would like to download your personal documents for free, or if you are not in a wireless area, you can continue to send attachments to "name"@free.kindle.com to be converted. These documents will be e-mailed to your computer at the e-mail address associated with your Amazon.com account login.

As always, you can also use our free document conversion service for any document you want to transfer over USB, and you will not be charged.

Please visit our Transferring Documents and Files to Kindle 2 help page on Amazon.com.

Sincerely,

Kindle Customer Service

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