Making The Kindle Browser Useful, Maybe - InformationWeek
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12/15/2010
12:25 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Making The Kindle Browser Useful, Maybe

The Kindle continues to burn up the sales charts. It does one thing really well, and about three or four other things pretty badly. One example of the latter is the browser. I've had better browsing experiences with decade old PDAs browsing the web than on a Kindle.

The Kindle continues to burn up the sales charts. It does one thing really well, and about three or four other things pretty badly. One example of the latter is the browser. I've had better browsing experiences with decade old PDAs browsing the web than on a Kindle.Kinstant is aiming to change that. It isn't software though. It is a web page that has links to various sites that work well, or at least acceptably, with the Kindle browser.

For example, most people that use Gmail on their PC go to the normal GMail page and have access to their message with all of the AJAX magic that let you move between emails almost as if you were using a local application, not a web page. That doesn't work so well on a Kindle though. If you have a Kindle 3, or the current generation, it takes you to the HTML version of Gmail's page. If you are on a Kindle 2 or DX, it will take you to the mobile version of Gmail which is optimized for older smartphones with really weak text based browsers.

Using the Kindle 3 page allows you to save your zip code so weather is accurate. You can also save ten URLs on the Kinstant home page for quick access to your favorite sites.

Those cooler features don't work on older devices though. If you go to the site with a Kindle 2/DX, you will need to click on the "K2/DX too!" link at the top before you get started. That will take you to a page that is full of links that should work pretty well on the K2/DX devices. I tried a few and had mixed success. The bottom line is the browser is a pig, at least on the K2, and you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. However, with these links, it is at least tolerable for brief jaunts onto the web.

Will this site make you use your Kindle's browser more, or will you continue to leave it untouched? I'll continue to use the Kindle as an ebook reader and leave the browsing to more capable devices.

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