Updates for 7″ Kindle Fires, iDevices

Updates for 7″ Kindle Fires, iDevices

There are a couple of big updates available!

First, you can go from this page:

iOS app

to get the latest version of their app for iDevices (iPhones, iPod touches, iPads).

Version 3.5. brings X-Ray to the devices, which is a great feature! It allows you to get more information about characters, locations, and other items in a book you are reading.

It also improves rendering for Manga (Japanese graphic novels, basically).

There are also updates available for the current generation 7″ Kindle Fires:

Kindle Fire HD 7″ Software Update Version 7.2.2

This one brings a camera app (yay!), the Swype keyboard (I know people love it, but I haven’t tried it yet), and Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, which I wrote about earlier, and I which I think is truly innovative and a potential game changer.

This update for the least expensive current gen Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire (2nd Generation) Software Update Version 10.2.3

brings Swype and Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, but no camera app…since it doesn’t have a camera. :)

Those features aren’t available yet for the 8.9″ or the Kindle Fire 1st Generation, but I suspect the 8.9″ will get it shortly.

I’ll download the update to my KFHD7, and let you know what I think. If you’ve done any of these and have any comments, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post!

Thanks, Amazon!

Update: I hadn’t realized that the keyboard on my 8.9″ was Swype (I knew it was different and that I liked it better), so I have used it. :)

I’ve done the update…it’s a large file, well over 500MBs. If you download it manually, don’t forget to delete it after the update is complete. Update: it now appears that the file deletes itself after updating, which is a considerable advantage over the way it used to work.

I’ve played around a bit with Kindle FreeTime Unlimited. You are automatically subscribed for a free month. As I suspected, there is content in there I’ll enjoy. :) For example, there was an old Speed Racer cartoon, and (Mr.) Peabody & Sherman.

Update: here’s some more information on the content in KFTU (I’m getting tired of typing “Kindle FreeTime Unlimited” ;) ):

Books: there are literally hundreds of options. Give that they are for supposed to be curated for three to eight year-olds, I’m not surprised that I’m not seeing recognizable “chapter books”.  Lots and lots of licensed characters (Madagascar, Phineas and Ferb, Shrek, SpongeBob, Mater), many light non-fiction (a history series, “PUGS ARE THE BEST!”, Exploring Stems).

The videos included Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Reading Rainbow, SpongeBob, Dora the Explorer…and some older ones, like H.R. Pufnstuf and The Archies). I didn’t see almost any feature length movies.  It appears to me that they are only available streaming…not for download to view offline.

Apps: here you had Where’s My Water, Where’s My Perry, Cut the Rope, Magic Piano Kids, and other popular titles. There were also a number of adaptations of classic works, like Gulliver’s Travels and Moby Dick (is it just me, or does Moby Dick seem like an odd choice for five-year olds?). ;)

Overall, I’d say the choice of content is pretty good, and I would guess it changes fairly often.

I’d need to experiment more with the changes in the interface…looks like they might have made it easier.

I haven’t found a camera app yet…

Update: thanks to readers Jay R Bernhard and Ann Von Hagel, I now know the camera app is available by going to the Photos tab. Silly me, I was looking for what Amazon told was an app under Apps. ;)

When you tap on Photos, you’ll see a little icon of a camera up under the battery charge life indicator. Tap that, and you’ll activate the camera. There will then be an icon of a shutter (although how many people know what a physical shutter like that looks like any more?).

Tap the shutter, and your picture appears in a thumbnail strip. Tap the picture there, and then you get an e-mail icon, a trash icon, and a menu icon.

Tapping the menu icon gives you a choice to either Send it or get Help.

I don’t see any settings, or a way to access the video or panorama functions (which I’ve used with the camera with other apps).

The picture is then accessible to you through the Photos tab, where it will show up in a collection called “Camera”.

This is definitely a bare bones app, but it’s nice to have. Ann also pointed out that it is on the 8.9″.

That means that the update brought two things to the 7″ that were on the 8.9″ already: the Swype keyboard and the camera app. We should still see an update to the 8.9″ to bring the Kindle FreeTime Unlimited.

For other camera apps you can use, see this earlier post.

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

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14 Responses to “Updates for 7″ Kindle Fires, iDevices”

  1. D.D. Larsen aka Dean Says:

    I’m debating between purchasing the Kindle Fire HD 7″ and the 8.9″. I now have the first generation Fire, and I’m giving it to my grandson. Your initial impression (review) of the 8.9″ wasn’t exactly glowing. I won’t be getting the 4G version, just the basic. Is it worth the bigger screen? I know the speakers aren’t as good on the 8.9″ (single drivers vs. the dual drivers on the 7″). So, I’m leaning toward the 7″. I’ve been waiting for your update on the 8.9″ but I’m going to have to decide soon in order to get the new one so I’m not without a Kindle for too long. Thanks, for all that you do for us, by the way. I truly enjoy your updates.

    Dean

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Dean!

      No, my first impression wasn’t that good, and I had to replace the first one I got. Now, though, I’m starting to like it. :) My power button did loosen up, and seems to be fine now.

      I’d say one of the main reasons to get it is the sharpness, rather than the size of the screen. If you are going to use it to run video on your TV through HDMI, that makes a difference.

      The size of the screen also makes it heavier, which is a negative.

      I’m carrying the 8.9″ now, but partially that’s still to test it out. I have been using the 4G…I want to get a feel for how much data different things take.

      You always have a thirty-day return policy on Kindles, so you could try it out.

      I hope to write a more general update before too long, but newsier things keep happening. :)

  2. D.D. Larsen aka Dean Says:

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly Buffo. I won’t be using it to display video on my TV. I think I’m going with the 7″, The lighter weight is definitely a plus when holding the Fire while reading, playing games, social media, etc.

    Dean

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Dean!

      I don’t see that as a bad decision at all. :) If you are going with wi-fi only, the 8.9″ only has a few advantages:

      * Size of the screen
      * Sharpness of the image
      * X-Ray for textbooks

      Are those worth an extra $100? It’s going to depend on the user…

  3. Jay R Bernhard Says:

    The camera “app” is umder Photos then click the “camera” icon in upper-right corner — BINGO You now can use the camera!!
    Jay Bernhard

  4. Ann Von Hagel Says:

    When you go to ‘photos’ on the Fire HD, there’s now a small camera icon in the upper right corner. Tap that and the camera is enabled and there’s a shutter icon on the left side you can tap to take a picture. Of course, the camera is front facing, but you can always do it over your shoulder. It’s also on the 8.9HD.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Ann!

      I actually take pictures with my Fire by holding at chest level facing out, and looking over the top (or around the side)…sort of like a really old still camera. :)

      • Ann Von Hagel Says:

        What would be way cool would be to use the HDMI out feature to output what the camera sees to a small screen you can look at while you point the kindle wherever you want. :) But they’ll probably incorporate an opposite-facing camera before anyone has time to develop that!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Ann!

        I think what you are describing is possible now, if it was done over wi-fi (or Bluetooth). You are right, though..the one weird thing you have to explain with a Kindle Fire is that it doesn’t have a rear-facing camera. “Does it have a camera?” “Yes, but you can’t really take pictures with it…well, you can, if you sort of stand on your head when you do it.” ;)

  5. Tom Semple Says:

    Kindle for Android was updated too (3.8.0):
    -supports simplified Chinese, including dictionaries
    -new font sizes available
    -print replica textbook support
    (would like TTS support, please! Xray also)

    Still wondering where the upgrade love is for the original Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch.

  6. Mary Says:

    I am hoping that you can help me. I downloaded the file directly to my kindle fire and moved it to the kindle update folder and ran the update and am using Swype now. However you say to delete the download file but after updating the kindle update file is empty. Can you tell me where I can find the original file so I can delete it? Also is there a voice to text app available for the fire HD? Thank you.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mary!

      When I checked on mine, it appeared that it deleted it automatically, which is an improvement over the way it used to work. I’ll update the post later…thanks!

  7. Mary Says:

    Thank you.

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