March 1, 2011

Kindle 3G Available Through AT&T Stores On March 6

Telecommunications company AT&T announced Monday that it will begin selling Amazon's Kindle 3G electronic reader at its retail stores on March 6 for $189.

Potential customers will get a chance to try out the Kindle e-reader at one of AT&T's 2,200 stores before buying the device. The Kindle currently sells at Target, Best Buy and Staples stores, and on Amazon.com's online retail store.

AT&T will benefit from offering the Kindle 3G -- and its $139 Wi-Fi-only version -- because Amazon pays for the data transfer when a user purchases books from the Kindle store over a 3G connection.

AT&T could earn up to $4 per month for each Kindle 3G connected to its network, according to a Business Week report.

But, AT&T's plans may be more ambitious than just making some quick cash off from an occasional Kindle sale, said Ina Fried from All Things Digital. With tablets, phones, and other hot sellers, wireless carriers are becoming more like electronics retailers. The Kindle 3G could help propel AT&T to a new level of sales. At the very least, a broader array of gadgets will make AT&T's et al. store's more appealing.

Amazon will also benefit from the extra exposure. While the Kindle e-reader already sells at other stores, AT&T will be the only seller of the Kindle 3G.

AT&T will provide the wireless 3G for Kindle, which was originally provided by Sprint when Kindle first came onto the market. With 3G, it takes less than 60 seconds to purchase an electronic book and download it wirelessly to the Kindle e-reader. AT&T will not charge a wireless fee on top of the purchase price.

The 3G model will also be able to connect via Wi-Fi. Customers will be able to choose downloads from a selection of more than 800,000 books, magazines, newspapers and personal documents. The 3G features one-month of battery life and a Pearl E Ink display that allows reading in direct sunlight. Amazon touts that both features sets it apart from other popular tablets such as the iPad and Galaxy Tab, which can burn through batteries in a single day and have screens that reflect sunlight.

However, the Kindle is not a media device like the iPad or Galaxy Tab, which both can be used to watch movies, surf the Web, play games, and run apps.


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