Engadget’s Thomas Ricker reports today that the thinner (why?) faster, higher-contrast Kindle possibly due in August may have WiFi capability for use with home or office WiFi networks or hotspots you find (preferably free) at coffee shops or bookstores and of course at airports where they unfortunately usually cost a bit.
This would be in addition to the current 3G cellular wireless capability that, at no added cost, lets you use the Kindle for googling something wherever you are (albeit slowly), in a bus or as a passenger in a car or sitting on some park bench or beach somewhere. This is if you are a U.S. resident or live in Japan, Hong Kong, or Mexico, and CEO Jeff Bezos has said that he hopes to expand to other countries the web-browsing capability that has been in Kindles since 2007, which is useful for patient users who access mobile-device-optimized versions of websites (as are used by smartphones).
The screen capture at the top left displays the results of an internal Amazon device query which shows entries for “Shasta” and “Shasta WiFi.” Rick feels this would seem to indicate that Amazon’s next Kindle will come in two flavors: WiFi + 3G and 3G-only (Engadget’s source isn’t sure). He also feels there’s even an outside chance that one could be a WiFi-only device, which would mean that the future Kindle could be made less expensive but would not allow downloading of books from wherever you happen to be, as the current Kindles do.
He points out that the original Kindle was apparently code-named “Fiona” after Fiona Hackworth in Neal Stephenson’s novel The Diamond Age. Kindle users may have noticed that links to Amazon often have an initial target destination at Amazon (a folder or directory) named ‘fiona’…
Richter adds that many of the names in the device list show above — “Nell (the protagonist), Miranda (mother figure to Nell), and Turing (i.e., Turing Machines) — are all related to that very same story. What we can’t figure out is how the word “Shasta” fits into all this so lay it on us Cyberpunks if you know.
Update: Freddo411 seems to have nailed it in the comments: Shasta, Lassen, and Mazama are all volcanoes in the Cascades.
Editor’s Note: The above is reprinted, with permission, from Andrys Basten’s A Kindle World Blog. PB