Amazon's international Kindle surprises owners with $20 refund, limited web browsing

The only thing better than unannounced functionality is an automatic, surprise refund on your purchase. With the international version of Amazon's 6-inch Kindle you get both. Several readers who ordered the $279 international Kindle have received the following email:

Good news! Due to strong customer demand for our newest Kindle with U.S. and international wireless, we are consolidating our family of 6" Kindles. As part of this consolidation, we are lowering the price of the Kindle you just purchased from $279 down to $259. You don't need to do anything to get the lower price--we are automatically issuing you a $20 refund. This refund should be processed in the next few days and will appear as a credit on your next billing statement.

By "strong customer demand" we assume that Amazon means "we're trying to stay competitive with the $259 Barnes and Noble Nook," but that's just a hunch. A hands-on at the Gadget Lab also reveals the inclusion of web browsing thought to have been disabled. For the most part it is disabled but Amazon does let you browse to the English version of Wikipedia and nowhere else. The hands-on also notes "dead slow" 3G performance and Amazon's decision to ship the international Kindle with a US power plug regardless of destination. Weird.

[Thanks, Simon]