Good news everyone! It’s now possible to hook up a Kindle 3 with free global 3G wireless to a PC and use the internet connection on your computer.
The bad news? This is probably a really bad idea.
Here’s the deal. If you bought a 3rd generation Kindle device with the global 3G option, Amazon lets you use that internet connection to connect to the Kindle Store and download books, or to surf the web in the experimental Kindle web browser.
But a clever hacker has figured out how to tether the Kindle 3 to a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer so that you can use that internet connection to do just about anything without paying a penny to any mobile wireless carrier.
The problem is that every Amazon Kindle is tied to your user account and this is a pretty clear violation of the terms of service. So it should be pretty easy for Amazon to identify anyone who’s 3G usage spikes to ridiculous levels. At that point they could disable your account or take other actions.
It’s also possible that if enough people tried this sort of thing, Amazon could issue a software update or make other changes that would make it difficult to tether a Kindle to a PC… or even to use the free 3G access on a Kindle.
Amazon charges customers a one-time prices for its devices with built-in 3G modems. Because digital book readers with E Ink displays and slow screen refresh rates aren’t exactly ideal for surfing the web, the company gambles that users aren’t going to use a lot of 3G access anyway, so Amazon can probably cover the costs of the wireless service through revenue raised by eBook purchases.
But if enough people use the Kindle as a free 3G modem, the economics of the situation would certainly change rather quickly.
So long story short, it’s pretty nifty that someone has figured out how to do this. But you probably shouldn’t do it.