July 25, 2012 at 5:53 PM ET
One of the Kindle's most useful features, as its owners will attest, is the built-in 3G that lets you download purchased books and other media at no extra charge wherever you are. It can also be used in the "experimental Web browser," but it seems that they've begun clamping down on bandwidth.
A Canadian user of an older Kindle model recently got an alert on his device advising him that he had reached a 50-megabyte limit on using the browser on his device. Such limits were not mentioned in product literature when he bought his Kindle, although they certainly didn't mention unlimited access, either.
Since that time, the Kindle terms of service have been updated to read:
The Experimental Web Browser is currently only available for some customers outside of the United States and may be limited to 50MB of browsing over 3G per month. This limit does not apply when customers are browsing over Wi-Fi.
No such caps have been announced for the United States or the U.K., though as some users have taken advantage of the free 3G and used it as a portable hotspot, it would be understandable if they did.
Naturally, many Amazon and Kindle services are exempt from the bandwidth rule. And, curiously (but fortunately) enough, so is Wikipedia. Amazon would not comment on why the website was exempt, or whether other sites might ever get similar free access.
Some users are upset over the change in policy, though the service is indeed still free and in some ways unlimited. Amazon did not indicate any plans to extend the limits to U.S. users, but if they do, reports will likely surface as quickly as they did elsewhere.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for NBC News. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.