The first Kindle launched in 2007, and it didn’t have Wi-Fi. In fact, Amazon didn’t release a Kindle with Wi-Fi until 2011 with the Kindle Keyboard. Those first few Kindles only connected to the internet over 3G, which was included with the device at no additional cost. That was a slick, almost magical way to access the Kindle Store back in the days before smartphones were universal. Today, though, it means some Kindles are about to go offline.
Carriers are moving full-speed ahead into the 5G era, and they’re even going so far as cannibalizing their 4G networks to do it. You can imagine how they feel about 3G — those networks are going away completely. Late this year, AT&T is going to start shutting down its 3G network, so those early Kindles that only had 3G connectivity will go offline with no Wi-Fi to us as a backup. Newer Kindles with both 3G and Wi-Fi will lose that always-on connection but will still be usable.
Amazon has started reaching out to those still using 3G-enabled Kindles. The remunerations vary by device. Those with early 3G-only Kindles are hitting the jackpot. Amazon says anyone still using that 2007 Kindle can get a brand new Kindle Oasis (the high-end model) and a cover for free. Those with other 3G-only devices can get $70 off a Kindle of their choice and $25 in book credits.
Amazon still has 3G as an option in some of its latest hardware, but these devices all have Wi-Fi in addition. Still, the company is offering a pittance to compensate people for the 3G they will not be able to use in the coming months. They’ll get $50 off a new Kindle and $15 in book credits.
It’s not ideal for anyone to see a functional piece of technology retired due to events outside of their control, but those early Kindles have had a very long life. If only a smartphone could be reliable for a decade or more.