If you’re an owner of an older Kindle e-reader, your device may soon lose support for an important feature: internet access.
In advance of this change, Amazon has begun sending emails out to older Kindle owners informing them about the situation. The issue is that because a number of wireless carriers are beginning to shut down and dismantle their older 2G and 3G networks in order to focus more on expanding their 4G and 5G coverage, a number of Kindles will no longer be able to connect to the internet later this year.
The devices most affected by this change are first and second-generation Kindles and the second-gen Kindle DX, as they were sold without built-in support for wifi connectivity, which means they are entirely reliant on cellular service in order to download new books and content. And while some carriers like Verizon have temporarily postponed the shutdown of its 3G service, when those older Kindles do finally lose service—which could start happening as soon as the end of the year—users will no longer be able to download new content (though thankfully previously downloaded books will still be available).
For more recent Kindle models that came with both wifi and cellular connectivity, those devices will also be losing cellular support, though they will still be able to fall back on wifi in order to purchase and download new content. The list of affected Kindles in this latter category range from the third-gen Kindle Keyboard all the way to the 8th-gen Kindle Oasis. If you’re not sure which Kindle you own and if it might be affected, you can use check which model you have by using Amazon’s online Kindle identifier tool here.
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While the loss of service will almost certainly cause issues for a number of older Kindle owners, it seems Amazon is looking to help ease the transition by offering $50 discounts towards the purchase of a new Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, along with $15 in eBook credits. The one caveat is that if you want to take advantage of these deals, you better act soon because according to Amazon emails, those offers are set to expire in about two weeks on August 15.
So while it may be frustrating to see some older Kindles lose a part of their core functionality, sadly this was always bound to happen, and at least for first and second-gen Kindle devices that didn’t come with built-in wifi, a run of more than a decade is pretty admirable compared to a lot of other modern gadgets.
[Update: 2:00 PM ET] After publishing our story, Amazon reached out to Gizmodo with additional information regarding discounts on new Kindles for people devices affected by the incoming 2G/3G shutdown.
Depending on the specific Kindle model, Amazon is offering a range of discounts, with owners of first-gen Kindles with cellular connectivity eligible to get a brand new 10th-gen Kindle Oasis and cover for free, while owners of more recent Kindles eligible for eligible for reduced discounts. So if you have one of the OG Kindles, you’ll probably want to take advantage of the free trade-in before the offers expire. Here is the full breakdown of special offers for older Kindle devices from Amazon:
For US customers with Kindle (1st Generation), Amazon is offering a free Kindle Oasis (10th Generation) device and cover.
US customers with Kindle (1st and 2nd Generation), Kindle DX (2nd Generation), and Kindle Keyboard (3rd Generation) can receive $70 off a new Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, plus $25 in eBook credits.
US customers with Kindle Touch (4th Generation), Kindle Paperwhite (5th Generation, 6th Generation, and 7th Generation), Kindle Voyage (7th Generation), and Kindle Oasis (8th Generation) can receive $50 off a new Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, plus $15 in eBook credits.
All US customers will be able to trade in their early edition Kindle devices. See here for more details.