FRAMINGHAM 28 FEBRUARY 2011 - AT&T will begin selling the new Kindle 3G e-reader at its retail stores for $189 on March 6, the first time the carrier has sold a dedicated e-reader device.
Potential customers will get a chance to test-drive the Kindle 3G at one of AT&T's 2,200 stores before buying the e-reader. Amazon.com began selling Kindles at Target, Best Buy and Staples stores last year to give consumers an alternative to purchasing the devices at its online store.
The Kindle 3G, with a 6-in. display, sells for $189 at Amazon, which also offers a Wi-Fi-only Kindle, also with a 6-in. display, for $139.
AT&T provides the wireless 3G service for Kindle, a job originally held by Sprint when the Kindle first appeared. With 3G, it takes less than 60 seconds to purchase an e-book, many for $9.99, and download it wirelessly to a Kindle. AT&T doesn't charge a wireless fee on top of the purchase price.
The 3G model also connects via Wi-Fi. Customers can choose downloads from a selection of 810,000 books, magazines, newspapers and personal documents. The e-reader features one-month of battery life and a Pearl E Ink display that allows reading in direct sunlight -- two features that, according to Amazon, set Kindle devices apart from popular tablets such as the iPad and Galaxy Tab, which can burn through batteries in a single day and have screens that tend to reflect sunlight.
However, the Kindle is not a media tablet like the iPad or Galaxy Tab, which can both be used to watch movies, surf the Web, play games and run office productivity apps.
In the past three years, AT&T has gradually added specialty and embedded devices other than smartphones and feature phones to run on its network. More than 940 different devices have been certified, and a total of 11 million are in use, a spokesman said. The other devices include netbooks, digital photo frames and personal navigation devices, as well as embedded devices used in telematics, home security and smart grids.
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