Kindle Touch update 5.1 available…major changes
Thanks to Andrys Basten of the
blog for the heads-up on this!
This brings us some big new abilities. Among them is one that people have wanted since the Touch was released, one that I suggested back at the Kindle 1, and one that the less expensive Mindle (the $79/$109 version) has already had.
Before I get into the specifics of the update (now that I’ve teased it) , here’s how to see if you have it and how to get it if you don’t.
On your Touch:
Home – Menu – Setting – Menu – Device Info
If your Firmware version starts with 5.1, your Touch has already updated itself over wi-fi.
If it hasn’t, you can just leave your wi-fi on and wait for it to happen, or you can update it manually right now (I’ve already done it that way).
As always, you can get any Kindle software update at
or go straight to the Kindle Touch update at
They have good instructions there, but if you need help, let me know.
The update was 38.5MB, and went smoothly for me.
Okay, here are the features:
Multiple language support
The Mindle has had the ability to switch the device menus to different languages, which has no doubt contributed to its international popularity.
You can now go to
Menu – Settings – Device Options – Language and Dictionaries
and under Language, you can choose
- English (United Kingdom)
- English (United States)
- Portugues (Brasil)
I’ll get the special characters in here later.
As with the Mindle, if you make a selection and click OK, the Kindle will have to restart itself to change the menus.
You can now switch your view to landscape! Landscape is wider than it is tall, portrait is taller than it is wide. If you think about pictures in a museum, that’s how they are typically hung…a portrait is “tall”, a landscape is “wide”. Within a book, it’s
Menu – Landscape Mode
I sent an e-mail suggesting this to Amazon when the Kindle 1 was released, although it would undoubtedly have been harder then. Tap a word or highlight a section, then tap More. You’ll get a choice for
This uses Bing. Interestingly, when I was testing this this morning, it didn’t work. I was connected by wi-fi (which I’m guessing will be necessary), but it repeatedly said, “Unable to contact the server. Please try again later.” There are more language options here than there are for the menus, which makes sense…the latter are onboard, the translation for words is not going to be. You can slide the list to see more. The list includes:
- Chinese Simplified
- Chinese Traditional
By the way, another choice under More? “Report Content Error”…
Update: the translation worked tonight, and appeared to work well! The Spanish translation of a half a sentence looked pretty good and was fast. The Hindi looked like Hindi…although I can’t judge the quality of the translation on that one. It does require you to be connected via wireless, which isn’t a surprise. If you highlight and tap translation when unconnected, it does give you a chance to “Turn on Wireless”, and then it did complete the translation once it did connect.
The Kindle Touch now supports Kindle Format 8, which has a lot more capabilities.
You can now connect to more types of wi-fi networks! That includes WPS and “select” WPA2 enterprise networks. You may be able to connect at work when you couldn’t before.
Text-to-speech with Read-to-me
The Kindle Touch has had text-to-speech, of course, but there is now a feature for content summaries for magazine and newspaper articles, when available. I haven’t tested this yet.
More sharing options
Well, this disappointed me a bit! I was hoping this was going to bringing tweading and the bookstream to the Touch, but I don’t think it does. It does make it easier to share our highlights and notes. When you highlight something, you can choose Share. It lets you add up to a 100 character note. You can also tap Menu in a book to get to a Share choice.
Onscreen keyboard suggestions
Yay! As you type into, say, the search box, the Touch suggests possible words. You then tap the word to input it. That’s going to real speed up input…which will be good with the sharing noted above. I mean, it’s felt like I was typing on my Blackberry rather than my Android phone. These are suggestions, not just completions. When I tried “cat”, one suggestion was “chat”.
There are probably other changes as well that may be more behind the scenes.
Overall, this a great update! It also demonstrates that Amazon is still supporting RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles….anything but a Kindle Fire). I never doubted that, personally, but some people worry about it.
The translation, in my opinion, would be great on the Fire and I expect we’ll get it there.
If you’ve tried out the update, let me and my readers know what you think.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.