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Igor Skochinsky has been doing some great reverse engineering on the Kindle ebook reader from Amazon. If you’re not familiar with the device, the Kindle is a paperback-sized Linux-based ebook reader. It has a unique virtual ink display that lends itself to reading text, and it’s bundled with a free cellular data plan which can be used for browsing or purchasing content from Amazon’s store over Sprint’s EVDO network.

In addition to obtaining a shell console—undoubtedly one of the more important tasks—Igor has documented a number of interesting keyboard shortcuts and easter eggs that haven’t been well documented on the device. There’s a basic photo viewer, a minesweeper game, and even a cell-based geo-positioning utility.

The photo above is from a post on the Interface blog, showing the handy results of hitting Alt-1 while in the browser. The Kindle will calculate your position based on cell triangulation, and take you directly to that location in Google Maps. Slick.

I haven’t seen a whole lot of talk on the subject, but it seems like the obvious hack here is getting the kindle to function as a free EVDO wireless modem for your laptop via the USB connection. This is essentially the first pay-once, unlimited access network plan that I believe I’ve ever seen. Anyone out there experimenting with this?

Igor Skochinsky’s Kindle Hacks – [via MakeFan] – Link
Kindle Easter Eggs: We have GPS! – Link


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Comments

  1. Babylonfive says:

    I wonder this myself. The modem is a serial connection, with (presumably) a modem commandset and the question is: does the ‘SIM’ and all the identification live in the modem or the kindle software itself? If it’s in the modem, then SCORE; just carefully desolder it and use it in something else… if not, then learn what messages are sent when making the initial connection, and repeat them from your new setup (again, after removing it).
    For those who want to keep the Kindle intact, the USB port is the obvious method for connecting non-destructively. I wish I had one to play with (sigh).

  2. Babylonfive says:

    I wonder this myself. The modem is a serial connection, with (presumably) a modem commandset and the question is: does the ‘SIM’ and all the identification live in the modem or the kindle software itself? If it’s in the modem, then SCORE; just carefully desolder it and use it in something else… if not, then learn what messages are sent when making the initial connection, and repeat them from your new setup (again, after removing it).
    For those who want to keep the Kindle intact, the USB port is the obvious method for connecting non-destructively. I wish I had one to play with (sigh).

  3. whizkid515 says:

    @Babylon
    There is no SIM, it is using EV-DO 3G technology which is CDMA. In the US, at least, SIM cards on CDMA have not been utilized.