Amazon once sold Kindles with free, lifetime 2G or 3G wireless internet access. But as carriers prepare to shut down their 2G and 3G towers, Amazon is warning longtime customers that their old Kindles will lose their wireless capabilities–a big bummer if you own a Kindle that lacks Wi-Fi support.
As reported by The Verge, Amazon is warning customers of the change through email. You should probably dig through your inbox to find said email, as it may contain a $50 coupon for a new Kindle Paperwhite or Oasis device, plus a $15 offer for ebooks (we aren’t sure if Amazon is extending this offer to all customers).
Anyway, the company’s Support FAQ page lists all devices that will be impacted by this change. Three of these devices lack Wi-Fi support and will have no way to connect to the internet:
- Kindle (1st and 2nd Gen)
- Kindle DX (2nd Gen)
The following devices will lose wireless support but can still connect to the internet over Wi-Fi:
- Kindle Keyboard (3rd Generation)
- Kindle Touch (4th Generation)
- Kindle Paperwhite (5th Generation)/(6th Generation)/(7th Generation)
- Kindle Voyage (7th Generation)
- Kindle Oasis (8th Generation)
Even if your Kindle loses its internet capabilities, you can still manage its library by connecting it to a PC. You can also replace its battery and perform other basic repairs using the guides on iFixit, if you want. But an upgrade may be worth it—new Kindles have higher resolution displays that refresh faster than old models and have backlights for nighttime use.
Bear in mind that Amazon isn’t choosing to drop support for these old Kindles. Carriers are shutting down their 2G and 3G towers to transition to 4G and 5G. Studies show that around 30 million Americans still rely on 3G access, so this change will make a lot of perfectly usable devices obsolete.