Kindle 2 in Israel part 2: What works, what doesn’t

Update: This post is obsolete. The new generation Kindles have international internet coverage and work perfectly in Israel. Please read my Kindle FAQ for more information.

One of the main selling points of the Kindle is Whispernet – a free EVDO Internet (provided by Sprint), which allows downloading content on the Kindle, browsing the web, reading RSS feeds, and searching Wikipedia. This is all brilliantly illustrated in this xkcd comic:

Unfortunately, Sprint’s coverage of Israel is pretty bad :)

There are two “registrations” of the Kindle. The first one is on the Amazon site. Since I purchased the device for myself, in my own account, the Kindle had automatically been assigned to me. This allows me to purchase Kindle content on the Amazon site, since it knows that I own a Kindle. The second registration is needed to be performed in the device itself. Since there is currently no way of connecting the Kindle to the Internet, I cannot register the device. Until Kindle is online and registered, many features are disabled; even the clock on the Kindle is set wirelessly. This is unfortunate – all the free book samples from Amazon can be only delivered wirelessly to the Kindle, although some alternative eBook stores exist.

Until it becomes possible to register the device in some other way, the only thing I can enjoy are books manually transferred to the Kindle via USB. It appears as a removable thumb drive on my PC, having only 1.4GB of free storage (the rest is used by the OS), so copying content to the Kindle is very easy – just drag and drop. Once disconnected (or ejected) from the PC, the new content immediately appears in the Home page.

One more issue with the Kindle is that it comes with Latin-only characters font. It supports Unicode (there was some confusion on this point – Kindle reads Unicode characters, it just lacks the fonts to display them correctly). There is some progress being made by the community to have additional fonts available on the Kindle.

Bottom line: without realizing it, I’ve spent 3 hours last night reading on the Kindle. No eye strain, no stiff hands, no uncomfortable positions – the Kindle is a joy to read on, and I intend to do so much more of that.