I’m now traveling internationally and right before I left I got a Kindle 3 to replace one I’d dropped in the river. One of the unexpected benefits of the new model is the web browser is based on WebKit and is actually functional and useful for most sites (the browser in previous models was much more limited and less useful, and I say this is an unexpected benefit of the new model because for the most part, Amazon brings new software features to the old models; I don’t know why the new browser which is just software is only available on the new model).
Another side benefit of the Kindle 3 is the built-in, free-to-use 3G wireless access works internationally. That’s pretty huge when you consider the hoops and/or expenses you have to jump through to get a cell phone working with wireless 3G data internationally. It wouldn’t be that surprising or useful if all the Kindle could do with 3G data is buy stuff from Amazon — which was basically my experience with the old model — but now that the web browser is useful, well, watch out world.
Anyway, so one of the things I’ll occasionally do with this new Kindle is check on Facebook from wherever I am that I don’t have other internet access. Right away, I found that the full-fledged facebook site (www.facebook.com) tends to crash the Kindle browser. (So do a lot of other sites that render complicated pages. Hey, they do call the browser an “experimental” feature.) That’s annoying, so let’s avoid that site. Strike 1. What other options do we have?
Well, there’s the old “mobile” facebook site (m.facebook.com), which I think was designed for really low end browsers like mobile phones, before the iPhone came along and redefined mobile phones as something that could maybe have a useful browser. I tried that on my Kindle, and it loads really quickly, but text input doesn’t work at all, so you can’t post status, search for friends, or really do much of anything. Strike 2.
And, there’s also the newer “touch” facebook site (touch.facebook.com), intended for smarter phones (www.facebook.com redirects here on iPhones). This one, it turns out, works just great in the Kindle browser.
So there you have it: the full-fledged site crashes, the mobile site exposes bugs with text input, but the touch site works fine. Hopefully Amazon will fix the other issues, but in the meantime, just use the touch site if you browse Facebook from Kindle (I changed the bookmark for “Facebook” to point to touch.facebook.com).