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Does the $139 Kindle Hit the Sweet Spot for You?


My mom is kind of pissed off right now. She’d bought that nice refurbished Kindle 2 for $139, and now Amazon announces a smaller, lighter Kindle 3 with a better screen and better battery life! Plus, has a nifty leather cover with built-in light accessory. Ah, technology! Once you buy something, expect something better (and more reasonably priced) just right around the corner. (*I did not let my mom know about the $109 refurbished Kindle 2 that came and went a while back right after she’d bought hers.)

I had to remind her that unlike her Kindle 2 with lifetime free 3G, the really cheap $139 Kindle 3 just has WiFi. No 3G, unlike with her Kindle 2 so she still had access to her e-mail when the power went out that time during the big the storm or when she got stuck in traffic. Only the new $189 Kindle 3 has both WiFi and lifetime free 3G. And for my mom, her ‘magic price’ was $140, nothing more than that.

Well, of course, there was nothing I could say about the smaller, lighter, better screen, better battery life part 😉

My sister’s suggestion is to just give her the refurbished Kindle 2 as a hand-me-down, and then mom can go buy the Kindle 3 (sis is willing to throw in the extra $50). Why? My sister hates the extra fee she pays for her iPad’s 3G access, and she’s looking if she can just turn her iPad into WiFi only and just read on Mom’s refurbished Kindle 2.

Seems like a good compromise to me. Personally, I’m not replacing my old Kindle 1 (which by the way cost me more than all these new-fangled Kindles!) until it finally decides to go on to Kindle heaven. But as long as it’s running well, I’m happy. I’m not really particular with screens, as I can read just as happily on my tiny iPod Touch screen or even the teeny-tiny Nokia N70 screen. My magic price to upgrade is $99, and maybe that’ll happen next year maybe?

But that makes me wonder about the $50 difference between the WiFi only Kindle versus the WiFi + 3G Kindle. My sister thinks that paying extra $50 for lifetime free 3G access anywhere in the world is worth it (she’s still pissed off that she had to pay for 3G on her iPad). Is it worth it to you? I’m not sure (but I’m not saying this to mom, as I had to defend 3G ferociously to her to make her feel better) – I mean – free WiFi is everywhere these days – as long as there’s a Starbucks /McDonalds right around the corner, you have free WiFi, plus the AT&T WiFi hotspots will also be free – maybe the 3G isn’t really that important?

Update: Mom actually went online to research Kindle 3 some more, and when she found out that it supports Chinese characters, well, that sealed the deal for her. Dad will be pre-ordering it asap!

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