The Kindle 3 is shipping already and the major reviews are out but one of the features the generally effusive reviews have neglected to cover is the Kindle 3’s new WebKit Browser.
It’s surprising because the new Kindle 3 Browser and its Article Mode are amazing. This post covers the Kindle 3 browser and has loads of photos.
2 sentence summary – The Kindle 3 Browser is great for reading things, especially news sites and blogs. It’s not usable as a full browser and can’t handle Flash and Java and, as far as my experience goes, Ajax doesn’t work either.
Kindle 3 Browser – What Sites Work
The new Kindle 3 Browser can handle complex websites easily. You don’t have to use the mobile sites – the actual sites load up fine.
Here are the websites that work fine 90% to 100% of the time –
- Gutenberg.org, ManyBooks.net, and Archive.org all work fine and you can download books straight from them. Choose Kindle or .Mobi format files.
- BBC and New York Times.
- Hotmail works fine. Update: Yahoo Mail works most of the time. Be sure to choose ‘Classic Mail’ option when it fails to load the new version.
- Unsurprisingly, Amazon.com works great. The entire structure and all the links and menus including scroll over menus.
- The Bookseller and Teleread.
- Most WordPress Blogs.
- Most of the websites tried worked.
- Don’t have a Facebook account but touch.facebook.com is supposed to work (courtesy Joe).
Nearly every website tried worked just fine. Even things like signing up for accounts work fine (Hotmail, GMail).
Kindle 3 Browser – Sites that don’t work
Update: The main versions of some Google sites don’t work but the mobile versions work –
- Gmail – http://mail.google.com/mail/x/
- Google Reader – http://www.google.com/reader/m/view/ works. The main Google Reader site also works if you give it a few tries.
- Google Maps – doesn’t seem to be working.
Thanks to Joe for the update.
Interestingly enough you can go through and sign up for a GMail account from the main site but not use the main GMail site. The mobile version works fine.
Updated: Yahoo Mail breaks down when you try to log-in and offers you Classic Mode – that works fine and is quite easy to use though moving around is a bit of a pain.
Let me know if you have a particular site you want tried out on the Kindle 3 Browser.
Kindle 3 Browser – Article Mode
On nearly every article or blog post page, and on most other pages, you can go into ‘Article Mode’. If it’s not an article page you get a warning message but you can still go ahead – it works most of the time.
In Article Mode all the banners and extrinsics like drop down menus and non-article graphics are stripped out. All you get is the text and occasionally the main image. Basically it works like Readability (a desktop browser plug-in that strips away everything except the main Article) and converts web articles and blog posts into little book chapters.
It’s a killer feature all by itself.
Kindle 3 Browser – Zooming in, Other Features
Whenever a page loads the Kindle 3 Browser recommends a default zoom level – It does this by showing a box outline with a magnifying glass icon in it. In fact you can’t click on anything until you zoom in.
Once you zoom in you can move around and use the cursor to get to whatever you want to click on. The experience varies from being easy on some sites to incredibly painful on other sites.
You get lots of zoom options – Fit to Screen, Actual Size, 150%, 200%, and 300%. You’ll usually be using the Kindle 3 Browser’s recommended zoom level or 300%.
There are some other useful features –
- Browse through your History and delete it if you like.
- Delete cookies.
- Bookmark Websites.
Overall, the Kindle 3 Browser is a big improvement over the older Kindle 2 browser and the Article Mode makes it better than the Nook’s impressive browser.
However, it’s nothing like a real browser. There are some important sites that don’t work (Google Maps) or work sporadically (Yahoo Mail).
Moving on …
After the jump – Lots of Kindle 3 Browser Photos and a Kindle 3 Video (more soon).