Kindle Fire update 6.3

Kindle Fire update 6.3

I reported a Kindle Fire update earlier today, along with some non-Fire news (for those of you keeping score). ;) I said I’d give you a fuller report when I had a chance to work with it, and I’m going to do that now. I’ll also update my book, Love Your Kindle Fire. That may take a few days…I have to do that in a neater fashion, and I also want to add some how-tos. After I update, I’ll ask Amazon to offer the update to previous buyers.

Let me also mention here that I’m doing this with the advantage of being able to compare two Kindle Fires side-by-side, one which has been updated and one which hasn’t. My Significant Other is off at the gym, and a reflective screen Kindle got that assignment. :)

First, your Kindle Fire should update on its own. You’d have to be connected to  wi-fi for it to get the download for the update, and then it would need to install the update. When I’m trying to get a Kindle of mine to do that, I typically sync with Amazon

Settings Gear – Sync

then turn off the Kindle (hold down the power button for a couple of seconds…it will ask you if you want to shut down) and then restart it.

However, I didn’t want to wait in this case, and you might not want to wait, either.

You can go to

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates

and then pick the Fire, or go directly to

Kindle Fire Software Update Version 6.3

Again, that shouldn’t be necessary…it’s just if you are in a hurry.

They have pretty good instructions there…if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Here are things I’ve noticed about the upgrade:

The Keyboard

This is a picture with the old version on top, the new version on the bottom. The top is “shifted” to capitals, by the way….

It’s different! The “hide button” has moved from your right to your left. If “long press” (hold your finger or stylus on it for about a second) the period, you’ll get a bunch of other punctuation…that’s a nice touch. There is now a “Next button” (I was comparing this in the native e-mail app on the Fire).  There was a .com button in this situation, which I really like.

The Settings Menu

This has really changed! It’s the same when you tap the Settings Gear, but when you tap More, they’ve certainly rearranged things

The old version was this:

  • Help & Feedback
  • My Account
  • Restrictions
  • Sounds
  • Display
  • Security
  • Applications
  • Date & Time
  • Wireless Network
  • Kindle Keyboard
  • Device
  • Legal Notices
  • Terms of Use

The new version (I’m comparing each choice, and if they are different, I’ll let you know):

  • Help & Feedback
  • My Account
  • Parental controls (this was called ‘Restrictions” before)
  • Sounds
  • Display
  • Applications (these are different on our two devices, but the options look like they are the same)
  • Date & Time
  • Wireless Network
  • Kindle Keyboard
  • Device
  • Legal Notices
  • Terms of Use

Web

What you may notice right away here is a little “glasses” icon at the bottom of the screen. That puts a web page into “article” mode. I wanted to test it, but interestingly, as I went to many webpages, the icon was gone. It did look nice on one page where I found it to work. You had to click a little x in your top right corner to get out of it…I was afraid that would close the webpage, but it didn’t.

I did check the settings for the Web…no different options.

Next, I went down the features they’d announced.

Sharing

I used The Hunger Games for these tests, figuring that if anything has been annotated and social mediaized, this would be it. ;)

I highlighted a passage, and in addition to Note, Highlight, Share, and Search. On the old version, it’s Note, Highlight, and More…(with More…giving you Search in Book, Search Wikipedia, Search Google).

Choosing Share was fascinating! I immediately saw a choice to share the highlight with “the Kindle Community”, and also to share to Twitter and Facebook. There was a blue “options” link I didn’t find stood out. Tapping that let me set up my Twitter and/or Facebook accounts, and showed samples.

More interestingly, I saw a series of other comments, when they were uploaded, and by whom (although many said by “Unknown”).  Clearly, there were forum like threads. They didn’t seem to be tied to a specific place in the book.

I entered something, and it also included my highlighted section, which is going to be confusing (since I just highlighted something at random).Still, this has real potential.

Oh, got it! There is a little word balloon, like in a comic book, on the menu…you can tap that and share without highlighting.

Yow! Must tear my eyes away! That’s going to be super-addictive. I think it’s generally better than some other technology based additions (this is, after all, literary), but I can also see people meeting up in a book to chat, oddly. Hmm, that’s an idea which I may use. Set up a date and time for people to chat with you…excellent idea for authors and experts!

This is a super winner for Amazon…amazing social. It could blow up like Twitter, but again, based on books. Not as big, of course, but I can absolutely see how people could disappear into it for hours at a time. Book clubs, here you  go! The only thing is that you can’t limit the group at this point…but it wouldn’t surprise me if Amazon let people set up groups of friends in the future. I’m also not quite sure what happens to…what to call them? Hm, maybe “tweads” because you are tweeting while you are reading? Okay, I’ll go with that…I’m not sure what happen to tweads over time…can you go back and read a thousand of them? Can you search them? Will they appear online somewhere?

Hmm…my highlight and the note I made with the highlight show up at

http://kindle.amazon.com

but not the twead I made without a highlight.

Book Extras

Bring up the menu in a book, and you’ll see Book Extras. No need for X-Ray for the Fire…well, no, it’s not the same, but very, very valuable. Characters, glossary, organizations…another big winner!

Archives of Personal Documents

I love this! You can go to the Docs tab, and you may need to sync. Then, you’ll see the documents you’ve sent through the personal document service (by e-mailing them to a Kindle). You’ll need to be on the Cloud tab. Tap one and it downloads.

You can also search on this page! I’m liking this.

They’ve said it will sync, meaning you could use books from Gutenberg, for example, or work documents, and start on one device and pick up on another.  I tested it by opening Just So Stories on my Fire, going to a spot, syncing, opening it on my Samsung Captivate (after syncing)…perfect! I’m impressed!

Print Replica Textbooks

Untested at this point

Movie Rentals

Not something I need to test, but it changes it so that the rental period (often 48 hours) from Amazon Instant Video doesn’t start as soon as you download to the Fire, but after you start watching it (you probably have to start watching within thirty days).

All in all…wow! These are major advancements.

I am noticing an oddness in response: I seem to end up on the Home page when I don’t mean to do that. It may just be more sensitive and I have to get used to it, but we’ll see. Let me know if you notice that.

Anything else you’ve noticed? Any questions? Feel free to comment on this post.

Update: I’ve written a post on “tweading” from the independent authors’ point of view in The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing. I really think this could be a breakout method for connecting authors and readers.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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19 Responses to “Kindle Fire update 6.3”

  1. Amazon sets indie marketing on Fire Says:

    [...] I was writing my detailed post on the update, I tried out their new Sharing [...]

  2. Zebras Says:

    My “Dragon’s Fire” updated automatically on its own last night. Went I went to load up the day’s NY Times from Audible.com, my icon was gone from my carousel and favorites, then I had to re-sign in, which took three or four tries. Then I went to Pulse mostly to see if you had posted anything new, and curly-cue re-load buttons were gone above each item, could not figure out how to re-fresh them, yours was not even on the most recent post, and the page turn button was not there on the bottom of the page. Ack!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      Huh. I didn’t have any problems with Pulse. It did have a couple of new “splashes”…one was for local news, and the other was for using it through the Cloud.

      Interesting! My Audible app was also gone from Favorites (I didn’t dig through the Carousel to look). I went to it on Apps, and it opened for me without a problem (including opening to the “last listened” point).

      Try Force Stopping (doesn’t that sound like something a Sith Lord would do?) the Pulse app:

      Settings Gear – More – Applications

      You may have to switch to All Applications at the top to find it.

  3. Pineapple Says:

    Bufo – Just got my update & wanted to try out the new keyboard. ;-)
    One neat thing I noticed is that my news subscription apps now show in the Newsstand tab as well as the Apps tab. I don’t have any magazine apps so I don’t know if that applies to them as well.
    So far this update looks great! The keyboard seems to work much better, too.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Pineapple!

      Good point! I checked, and my Entertainment Weekly app does now appear on my Newsstand tab…nice improvement. :)

  4. patricefitzgerald Says:

    VERY cool Bufo — thanks so much for telling us about this! I just wandered into Hunger Games on my Kindle Fire and found a lot of people sharing. Then I went to my own thriller — RUNNING — and saw one comment. Someday perhaps I’ll be in the Hunger Games league! :-)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, patricefitzgerald!

      You never know what will happen…may the odds be ever in your favor. ;)

  5. Donna White Glaser Says:

    Bufo, I noticed in the last day or so I’ve gotten email notifications from Amazon.Kindle.com that I’ve been “friended” by various people. Any idea what that means? Did that result from my jumping into the stream by “sharing” in my book?
    Thanks for all the info you gather on behalf of us Kindlers! I really appreciate it and check your blog daily. Or nightly, rather, since I’m usually curled up on the couch at day’s end with Pulse.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Donna!

      That’s fascinating!

      Amazon used to have an “Amazon Friend” thing, but I believe they dropped it. Then, they did a beta where it was tied into Facebook.

      You can choose to follow people…there is some information on that here:

      https://kindle.amazon.com/faq#PublicNotes3

      Tell me a bit more about this. For example, could you give the e-mail address from which it was sent?

      Did it use the word “friend”?

      I’m guessing it might mean that you were followed at http://kindle.amazon.com…but I’m going to dig more into this.

  6. Donna White Glaser Says:

    (Had a little problem posting so this may come through twice. Sorry, if it does!)

    Hi Bufo,
    I couldn’t find an email address to forward the exact msg to you so I cut/pasted. The only change I made was to delete my personal email so I don’t mind if this is posted.

    This is my third “following you” notice. I did contact one of the authors who followed me, Carl Brookins, and he didn’t know how it came about either, which tells me this is Amazon generated, not a deliberate choice by an individual. Not sure if I like that but I could be wrong.

    I do think the “friending” thing is connected to my using the Share word balloon to leave a comment on my own book, The Enemy We Know. (Yes, I’m that vain and yes, this was just a mini-plug. :) I linked to FB and Twitter at that time and allowed access so they would post my little comment.

    I’d love to learn more and I know you’re just the person to dig it out! Thanks for doing all the hard lifting for us re: Kindle/Fire info gathering. :)

    D.

    From: kindle.amazon.com [mailto:no-reply@amazon.com]
    Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 6:53 PM
    To: XXXXXX
    Subject: CJ Black started following you on kindle.amazon.com

    CJ Black started following you on kindle.amazon.com

    CJ Black
    USA
    0 books with Public Notes
    93 following, 15 followers

    By following you, CJ Black will be able to see your Public Notes on books that you both own and be able to see your public activity on kindle.amazon.com.
    CJ Black and You Both Follow:

    Regan Taylor
    Novato, CA USA
    Pat Brown

    Luvs2Read

    If you would like to stop receiving e-mail notifications from kindle.amazon.com, you may do so by visiting the preferences page.
    You may also report CJ Black for abuse

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Donna!

      That does help, and I have e-mailed Amazon for some clarification.

      That e-mail suggests that the person is following you through

      http://kindle.amazon.com

      I found you there:

      https://kindle.amazon.com/profile/Donna-White-Glaser/1934348

      I’m going to click follow…if you don’t mind, let me know if you get the same kind of e-mail.

      • Donna White Glaser Says:

        I did get a notice. Says you are following 3 and have 27 followers. Zero public notes–what’s up with that? :)

        So you have to go to an author page and click something?

        Can’t wait to hear what AMZ says.

        D

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Donna!

        I’ve posted the information.

        You don’t have any public notes because you haven’t turned on public notes in a book at

        http://kindle.amazon.com

        Sharing isn’t quite the same thing.

        To follow somebody, you click on something on the page at the above address, not at their Amazon Author Central page. You can find people by searching at that above address as well.

  7. stevehum Says:

    I didn’t know there was an update but I think it just screwed up my Audible setup. I have a platinum account with Audible (Amazon subsidiary) and a pretty decent library. My Audible account is registered using my gmail email, but my Kindle Fire is registered to a different email address. I just tried launching Audible and it said I had been logged out because the Kindle isn’t registered with my gmail account – it logged me into Audible using the email the Kindle is registered under – so none of my audio books are available. To access my audio books I need to register my Kindle to the gmail email, but then I assume the Kindle won’t connect to my other Amazon accounts (Kindle, Amazon Music, Amazon App Store). I’m gonna complain.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, stevehum!

      I’m sorry to hear that! You are the second person to mention an issue with Audible after the Fire update.

      I didn’t have one at all, and I think that may be because I had my Amazon account before my Audible account…and when I set up the latter, I linked it to Amazon at that point.

      My guess is that you are only linking the Kindle to the Audible account, and that it won’t affect any of the other links for your Kindle.

      However, it makes sense to contact Kindle Support at

      http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

      You’ll see a

      Contact Us

      button. I’d call them or have them call you.

      Please let me know what they tell you. My guess is that it’s a fairly simple fix, but I’d like to know. :)

  8. charlie Says:

    easy fix go to your audible account and then to account-details. There is a link NEW – Use your Amazon account on Audible!
    Follow the easy directions and you are in sync in moments.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, charlie!

      I think what people are complaining about is that they can’t disconnect them. Some people have a lot of Audible titles, and they don’t want them to appear in their Kindle archives…

  9. Round up #76: free audiobook, free serious lit, docks, solar « I Love My Kindle Says:

    [...] In this Kindle Community thread, *~*Pineapple*~* alerted me to something which we both think is new since the 6.3 update on the Kindle Fire. [...]

  10. New update available for the Kindle Fire 6.3.1 « I Love My Kindle Says:

    [...] http://ilmk.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/kindle-fire-update-6-3/ [...]

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