Big Kindle Fire update is here!
IMPORTANT NOTE: FIX FOR UPDATE PROBLEM AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST.
Note: this post has been considerably updated as I have been working with the new version.
This is the big one!
Amazon announced a “mid-November” update to the new Kindle Fire operating system when it released the new generation of devices.
This one brings a lot of significant new features, which I will list for you shortly.
First, I know some of you are super anxious to get it, so here is the
If you are willing to wait until it shows up on its own (which might take weeks), you can certainly do that.
Otherwise, you go to that page and select your model. The ones affected by this update (in all their memory storage/special offer/4G or not configurations) are the:
- Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers (this is the new generation, lowest priced at $139 Kindle Fire)
- Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (this is what I own)
- Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers
This update is just for the models with the new operating system. Some of it might possibly get to older models, and the Cloud Collections part will affect other devices.
Here is the
Update: here are the features mentioned at the update page:
- Find and share books with Goodreads: Goodreads on Kindle lets you connect with the Goodreads community to follow friends and see what they are reading, and share and rate books on your Kindle Fire. Bufo’s comment: this is an app, located on your Apps tab. It has the letter “g” on it. You’ll need to be connected to wi-fi to use it. You can create a new account, or connect to an existing account. I entered my Goodreads e-mail address and password, and then I was given a screen to enter books from Amazon (both physical and e-books). You have to indicate whether you “Want to Read”, are “Currently Reading”, or have “Read” the book. You can also rate it. I could also choose “Readers to Follow”. You are given a choice to “Add Freinds from Facebook”. Tap the menu (three horizontal lines in your top left corner) to see more. You can also get to your Kindle library from the menu.
- Organize your content with Cloud CollectionsOrganize your content library into collections like “Favorite Books” and “Sports Apps” that are synchronized with compatible Kindle devices and reading apps. Bufo’s comment: “long press” (hold your finger or stylus on it for about a second) a book on your Books tab (either in the Cloud or On Device), and you’ll get a chance to “Add to Collection”. Collections showed up from other devices here, and I could create a New Collection. I could also add to a Collection from the Carousel. It worked with e-books and apps (haven’t tested other content).
- Watch movies and TV shows on another device with Second ScreenFling movies and TV shows from your Kindle Fire to your 2013 Samsung Smart TV or PlayStation 3 using Second Screen. Bufo’s comment: not tested yet. Here is the Second Screen help page
- Learn more about books with Smart LookupWith the Smart Lookup feature, you can quickly look up words in the dictionary or Wikipedia or translate text in a book. Bufo’s comment: highlight text in a book. I did that with “The Breakfast Club”. It brought up “cards”, sort of like you see with Google Now. The first one was Wikipedia information and a link to go to Wikipedia. Swiping to my left, I got the Bing translator (in Spanish: “El Club del desayuno”). I tried a single word, and the first card was a dictionary. Swiping got me to Wikipedia, and then to the translator. The translator even has the option to speak it out loud for you (at least it did in Spanish). There was a toolbar that allowed highlighting in different colors, adding a note, sharing, starting text-to-speech (it’s a play button), and searching
- Print from Your Kindle FirePrint Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, photos, e-mails, calendar events, and contact information from your Kindle Fire to a printer that supports mobile printing. Bufo’s comment: not testted yet
- Free up storage space with 1-Tap ArchiveWith 1-Tap Archive, your Kindle Fire groups all content that has not been used recently so you can move it to the Cloud with just one tap. Bufo’s comment: Home – Swipe Down – Settings – Device – Storage. Note: check te results carefully: it may want to archive a lot of things you don’t want archived.
- Enhanced enterprise featuresManage security certificates and connect to your company’s Wi-Fi network—whether you’re at home or at work—with remote VPN capabilities. Bufo’s comment: not tested yet.
- Set alarms and view additional time zones with the Clock appUse the all-new Clock app to check the date and time, set an alarm clock, and more. Bufo’s comment: another app, with a lot of options! If you tap the menu, you can set it to Alarms, Nightstand, Stopwatch, or Timer. Update: love this app! There are many choices for sounds for the alarm (including a rooster!). Some of the sounds create a doppler sort of effect, like the sound is moving from one side to the other. The nightstand mode has a cool, futuristic clock (no hands, just arcs). I tested it: you would need to have it plugged in to go overnight. Even with the brightness all the way down (which would be fine in a dark room), twenty minutes of running took about 3% of the battery charge. I could set up multiple timezones (although the choices of specific cities were limited) and see more than one at once, if I wanted. That will be nice when our adult kid is in Europe.
Update: the press release talks about a lot more than the update page does. I’m excited to try the dictation! That’s speech-to-text (the opposite of text-to-speech): it converts what you say into text. English will be available offline, and more languages available when online. This may also open the door to voice commands for the Fire, which is one area where I really wanted to see improvement.
Here are the additional features mentioned in the press release:
- Cloud Collections helps you organize your books, newspapers, magazines, and apps in customized collections for easy reference, and Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes the collections across your Kindle devices and reading apps so they’re available on all of your devices. Bufo’s comment: see above
- Voice dictation converts your speech to text—available in all languages when online; offline support available in US English. Bufo’s comment: you’ll new see a microphone button to your left of the comma (at least that’s where I’m seeing it) on your keyboard. Tap that, pause a second, and then say something. It seems to work quite well. You can say some punctuation, like “exclamation point” and “smiley face”. I’ve done a bit of testing: I’m impressed!
- 1-Tap archive which frees up space on your Kindle Fire by identifying items that have not been recently used and provides a 1-tap option to store them in the Cloud for later retrieval. Bufo’s comment: see above
- Wireless printing of photos, PDF, e-mails, contacts, calendar and docs. Bufo’s comment: see above
- New accessibility enhancements that enable blind and visually impaired customers to save a separate accessibility profile for children in Kindle FreeTime, scroll lists automatically when swipe navigating, hear enhanced sound feedback and screen orientation changes announced, and have more control when editing text and navigating web content. Bufo’s comment: not tested yet
- Dozens more new features, performance and battery life improvements, and bug fixes. Bufo’s comment: as I find things, I’ll add some of them below
Update: I’m working with Kindle Support right now, because you can’t install the update following the directions on the webpage.
Important update: we got it to work! Please feel free to spread this solution around, because it’s a bit weird.
My Windows Explorer would not let me drag and drop on to the Internal Storage drive. After the person helping me, John, got a management team involved, they suggested copying and pasting the file, instead of drag and drop…and that worked!
It’s installing now.
I’ll update this post shortly, but wanted to get this out right away.
Update: lock screen improvements: my lockscreen now shows me the day, date, and time, the battery level…and if I have any new e-mail (in the e-mail app).
Update: battery charge life seems much more robust! I’ve done things which I would think would have run it down significantly without much impact.
Update: very pleased to say that I went to go update my Significant Other’s Kindle Fire HDX manually…and it was all done! It had been plugged in, with wi-fi on. There was a notification explaining that the update had taken place…another nice touch.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.