Round up #74: Fire update coming, global Touch

Round up #74: Fire update coming, global Touch

Amazon touches the world…all over

As of yesterday, the Kindle Touch 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi is available for pre-order (for release on April 27) in 175 countries.

press release

What, you thought they’d had it all along? 🙂

The Mindle has done very well abroad, apparently, ranking highly. The addition of the Touch has a couple of interesting implications.

First, it shows that Amazon is continuing to support reflective screen devices (as opposed to backlit devices like the Fire). Some people express concern about that…after all, the Fire has been the number one item, and there are people who are reading it on it regularly.

As I’ve mentioned before, that was a surprise for me. I didn’t expect to have the Fire be my main reading device, but it has become that. Even at home, I don’t usually switch to my Touch or Mindle.

Another interesting thing is that they are releasing it in seven languages (well, six languages and two variants):

  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  •  Spanish
  •  Brazilian Portuguese
  • American English
  • British English

The language experience appears to be similar to the Mindle. Text-to-speech is only in English, and it appears that you’ll be able to select your language on the fly (probably requiring a restart)…they aren’t offering seven different models, which is what the press release suggested to me.

My guess is that we’ll get this as an update for our current Touches.

Also, the press release is headlined about the Touch with wi-fi and 3G, but I checked both the British site and the French site, and they are offering both the wi-fi only and the wi-fi and 3G.

Fire update “coming soon” with added features

Amazon doesn’t usually tell us about an upcoming update until some people have started to get it. On the

Kindle Fire Software Update page

they are telling us about 6.3. If you’ve gotten it already, let me and my readers know. 🙂

I haven’t, yet, but I’ll check again later today.

I’ll do a full post after I have it and can test it, but I thought you might want to know what they tell us it will have.

Before I address the feature adds, though, I do want to say that two bug fixes would really matter. One is this “partial download” of books problem. I’ve had it happen a couple of times, as I’ve written about previously. You download a book, but part way through reading it, you have to connect again to continue. Yes, I have had that happen on an airplane, where I couldn’t “complete” the download. The other one is this issue with books that open up and they are blank. There are workarounds for that, but I’m hoping the update just makes it work.

So, a brief listing of the new features (again, I’ll do more in-depth in a later post:

  • Sharing passages: similar to what we’ve had on some other Kindles, you’ll be able to share a passage you highlight in a book via Twitter or Facebook, and it appears to be that these will also be part of the Popular Highlights program
  • Book extras: we’ll get the Shelfari information about the book that readers contribute to that service. That means you can get character profiles and more…great for homework 🙂
  • Archive of Personal Documents: if the implementation is like the recent update to the Kindle for Android app, it will be nice. 🙂 I think you’ll see your personal documents on your Docs tab
  • Print Replica textbooks: that’s more availability for more robust textbooks
  • Reading View for Amazon Silk: again, bringing us something we’ve had on other Kindles…an “article mode”, make it easier to read websites
  • Movie rentals: this has been pretty inconvenient in the past. Once you downloaded a movie rental, your 48 hour viewing period started. That meant you could load up a few movies to watch over a week while you were on vacation away from wi-fi, for example. Now, the viewing period will start once you start watching it. If it’s like it has been for other devices, you will need to watch it within thirty days of download, but that’s fine
  • They also say there will be performance enhancements, including faster reconnect to wi-fi

I’m looking forward to seeing it! I expect I’ll have it within a day.

Update: reader and commenter jjhitt has posted this link:

That looks legitimate…still not official, though.

Update: this is the “I’ve done the update” update. 😉 I’ll do it as a separate post when I get to test it. One good thing: it appears you can actually turn off the autocorrects now. That setting is in

Settings Gear – More – Kindle Keyboard

I tested it by typing “teh” with and without it. When the setting was on, it corrected it…when it was off, it didn’t. This has been a major complaint, particularly from those trying to type in non-English languages.

How did I do the update?

I was on my Fire and “long pressed” (I held my stylus on it for about a second) the link above from jjhittI chose to save the link.

That then put it in the Download folder. I used the free ES File Explorer to move it from that folder to KindleUpdates.

Then, I could go to

Settings Gear – More – Device

and choose to “update your Kindle”.

Three new Fires?

I’ve been hearing rumors about the number of Kindle Fire (or at least, Android) devices Amazon might add.

A reader sent me this link in a private e-mail:

Amazon May Launch Three More Kindle Fires in 2012

That would fit my expectations. In my speculations for 2012, I said

“…I also think we’ll see another seven-inch Kindle Fire…with more features (GPS, cameras), and that it will be more expensive.  My guess is we’ll see at least two of the larger screen”

So, three would fit right into it. 🙂

Feel free to tell me what you think…

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

10 Responses to “Round up #74: Fire update coming, global Touch”

  1. Emily Says:

    I got the update yesterday sometime during the afternoon. I actually had no clue it was an update until I was using the browser to read a news article. At the bottom of the page was an icon that looked like a pair of glasses. When I clicked on it it went to article view! It was SO much easier to read that way. None of the other updates really affect me much, but I like that one. Nice surprise!

  2. Lynn Says:

    The update came to my Fire this afternoon. Haven’t had a chance to test it, but it has arrived!

  3. Joe Bowers Says:

    Hello, again, B.C.! First, let me say I am impressed by how prolific you are. You really must like to keep busy!
    I don’t have the Fire update yet, I am at work and will look for it when I get home.
    I still use my RSK for a lot of my reading, perhaps because I look at a computer screen all day at work, ‘though I do use the Fire for some reading.
    I haven’t had the problem with partial book downloads, but the other day, on the Fire, a magazine I subscribe to (Guitar World, if you’re interested), which I had partially read, gave me a “download interrupted” message when I tried to open it again. It downloaded pretty quickly, but I had not had that happen before. It seemed that once an issue had downloaded, it was on the device, and did not need further attention. Ever hear of this?
    Thanks again for the good work, take care.

  4. H Songhai Says:

    Any word on Google Play on the Kindle Fire?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, H.!

      Google Play is the Google store that combines the Android Marketplace, books, video, and music.

      What were you wanting to do with it? Amazon will match their prices. There certainly will be apps there that haven’t been tested by Amazon for the Fire. You can allow the installation of apps from “unknown sources” on the Kindle Fire, although I haven’t done it with Google Play. You could try it:

      Settings Gear – More – Device

  5. Tom Semple Says:

    6.3 is available at the Fire Update page now.

    I unexpectedly and mysteriously switched to reading on my Fire a couple of weeks ago. Have barely picked up my Kindle Touch since.

    Except for a couple of missing features (TTS, Collections), I like the better contrast and performance, and ability to use other reading apps on the same device.

  6. Kindle Fire update 6.3 « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] I Love My Kindle Fun and information about the Kindle and the world of e-books « Round up #74: Fire update coming, global Touch […]

  7. Tom Semple Says:

    Yes, and I hope we’ll get an update for KT soon, to add localized UI (bringing it to parity with KNT/K4). And KF8. And landscape.

  8. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Well, I whipped out the ole Pythagorean theorem to compute ppi for the 8.9″ 1920×1200 rumored kindle: comes to 252 ppi — not too shabby; pretty close to the 264 ppi of the “new” iPad.

    BTW, I visited an Apple store recently at the local mall (to do a warranty exchange of a faulty ipod nano). Anyway, I had my KF with me, and was able to do some side by side comparisons with the new iPad.

    Clearly the iPad display is better than the KF, but not that much better, and certainly (at least to me) didn’t seem to warranty all the gushy reviews of how great the iPad display is. One thing that gets overlooked is that non-retina displays make heavy use of anti-aliasing which makes text look almost as good as that on the iPad.

  9. Lynn Says:

    Clearly the iPad and the Kindle Fire are very different. What seems to be the problem with the iPad is the cost of all the apps. I don’t think this gets emphasized enough. The screen on the KF is smaller, but quite adequate. All in all, the KF gives a bigger bang for the buck, and I find myself reading on it almost exclusively. The only advantage I find in using the Kindle touch is the screen, but I usually don’t read outside so this hasn’t been an issue. I love Amazon’s customer service and I don’t hear much jumping up and down about Apple’s responsiveness to it’s customers.

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