Kindle Keyboard 3G Tethering May Provide Emergency Options

Kindle Keyboard
Kindle Keyboard

The Kindle eReader has long come with unrestricted 3G access on its more expensive models.  This has been such an expected option that when Amazon stopped offering the feature on the newer Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch models it shocked many of us.  Fortunately, for those who are still interested in the service, there is always still the Kindle Keyboard 3G.  While they aren’t really being pushed as a current product any longer, Amazon still seems to have plenty of the older model with its unrestricted access available on their site.

The biggest problems with taking advantage of this feature for anything besides simply purchasing from Amazon have been tied to the shortcomings of the eReader itself.  The Kindle Keyboard’s 5-Way directional controller is nice enough, but can be incredibly tedious to use.  The web browser is extremely basic at best, and will almost certainly enough fail to load important pages or crash completely from time to time under regular use.  Still, it is a free lifetime 3G connection that accomplishes the goal of keeping you connected to the Kindle Store no matter where you happen to be.  It is hard to complain about that.

What was once just a convenience for people willing to spend some extra money on their initial Kindle purchase might now be a valid thing to keep around for emergencies, however.  You see, somebody has finally worked out a way to make this free 3G coverage available to more generally useful devices via a tethering hack.  While I won’t go into the details here (this is absolutely warranty-voiding and quite possibly illegal enough for action is abused), hacker Andrew D’Angelo has posted the complete method on his easily searchable personal web site.  Using this method, you can now get your PC or laptop onto the internet via the Kindle Keyboard’s cellular connection.

I say that this is an emergency tool specifically because every bit of data sent through this connection runs through Amazon’s proxy servers.  You are tagged with a unique ID number that can easily trace unusual activity back to your personal account.  Since this is, as mentioned above, rather blatantly in violation of the Terms & Conditions for Kindle 3G use, chances are good that both the connection and the associated account will be shut down before too long at the very least.

This could be great to have around for those situations where a storm takes out the local communications, and I can think of some flooding a while back that I would have loved to have it available for, but it is not a tool for daily use.  Still, it might be worth considering the 3G option on any new Kindle purchase now even if you have no interest in it as an aid to your eReader experience.  $40 added to the purchase price for a cell connection with no monthly fee running through a device that only runs out of batteries once every month or two is great by itself, but being able to use that connection so fully when you really need to have that available is invaluable.

5 thoughts on “Kindle Keyboard 3G Tethering May Provide Emergency Options”

  1. The Kindle Keyboard’s battery will not last anywhere near a month if you use it as a wireless 3G modem. The claim that it will “only runs out of batteries once every month or two” is realistic only if you use it with the antenna completely turned off.

  2. I read a post where someone whose area had been hit by tornadoes were able to use their Kindle to email family that they were okay and provide updates for days. Very convenient since phone lines and electricity was not available. Most cell phones will not last that long without recharging but the Kindle did.

  3. Buckyhoo,

    In this case I figured it was implicit or I would have elaborated more. Either one is in a situation where power is available (from a generator or something I guess?) or the device will be used by necessity in fairly quick bursts to get information out. Laptop batteries wouldn’t last nearly as long, but they are all that you have available if power is out usually. Several minutes at a time with the 3G turned on and little or no use otherwise would indeed allow a month or two of battery life, depending on local cell signal strength.

  4. This post is just irresponsible. Regardless of the legality of the suggested hack it is unethical. Amazon has been very good to this community and we shouldn’t be endorsing ways to cheat them. It is exactly this kind of behavior that caused the latest Kindles to be restricted.

    If an emergency 3G device is needed this go buy a used verizon mifi device. You can get one for $40 on ebay, and you can buy service using the device only when you need it and it costs nothing when not being used.

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