Here's something that Chinese users will agree the Kindle does better than the iPad: scale the "Great Firewall of China." Sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are blocked by Chinese authorities, can be accessed by the Kindle's Internet browsing functionality.
The Kindle is only available in China's grey markets, however. A seller in Beijing told the South China Morning Post he has been slipping Kindles into China a few at a time, and that he has sold 300 in the past month.
AFP reported that bloggers are recommending the device for its ability to get around the censors. One blogger said,
"I still can't believe it. I casually tried getting to Twitter, and what a surprise, I got there. And then I quickly tried Facebook, and it perfectly presented itself. Am I dreaming? No, I pinched myself and it hurt."
It's unclear why the 3G version of the Kindle was excluded from coverage by the "Great Firewall of China." It's possible authorities, knowing the Kindle is an e-book reader, were unaware that it could also browse the Web. Professor Lawrence Yeung Kwan, of the University of Hong Kong's EE department, said,
"Every Kindle device is pre-registered to a personal account, so every user's information is clear. In addition, Kindle has a book-buying focus, so the censors may think these connections are relatively safe."
It's the Kindle's Whispernet technology that allows auto-syncing of books to the device, but it also allows it to browse the web. It's unclear, now that the device's cover has been blown, how long the functionality will last. The 3G version of the Kindle has to be using some Chinese wireless carrier to connect to the Internet.