Amazon drops web browsing from Kindle Touch 3G

Amazon's newly-launched Kindle Touch 3G appears to feature a significant downgrade from its last-generation non-touch equivalents: there'll be no browsing over a 3G connection.

Perhaps the biggest feature of the Kindle 3G, the free web browsing allows users to launch an 'experimental' web browser and access the entire web free of charge wherever they might be. Whether it's to check email, sports scores, or access translation services while you're on holiday, it's a handy features to have.

Sadly, the Kindle Touch 3G knocks it on the head. Responding to customer queries, Amazon has officially confirmed that the next-generation Kindle Touch 3G won't include full web access.

"We apologise for the confusion. Our new Kindle Touch 3G enables you to connect to the Kindle Store, download books and periodicals, and access Wikipedia - all over 3G or Wi-Fi," the company explains. "Experimental web browsing - outside of Wikipedia - on Kindle Touch 3G is only available over Wi-Fi."

It's a disappointing move, but not a surprising one: Amazon subsidises the cost of the 3G data connection, making its losses back thanks to the joys of impulse purchasing, where a Kindle owner can immediately buy a high-profit ebook wherever they are.

Clearly the cost of subsidising a connection to the full web - even on a device with a low-resolution, greyscale display that can't do video or high-quality images - is proving too much, with Amazon opting to knock the feature on the head for all except Wi-Fi connections.

"Our Kindle Keyboard 3G will continue to offer experimental web browsing over 3G or Wi-Fi," Amazon added, referring to the newly branded last-generation Kindle model.

Thus far, consumer reaction to the announcement has been negative, but only time will tell if it affects Amazon's ability to upsell its customers from the cheaper, Wi-Fi only Kindle models.