Kindle Touch update 5.1 available…major changes

Kindle Touch update 5.1 available…major changes

Thanks to Andrys Basten of the

A Kindle World

blog for the heads-up on this!

When I checked my Pulse app on my Kindle Fire  this morning, I saw that there was a new 5.1 update available for my Kindle Touch (and yours too, of course).

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

Kindle Touch Software Update Version 5.1.0

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

  • Deutsch
  • English (United Kingdom)
  • English (United States)
  • Espanol
  • Francais
  • Italiano
  • 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.

Landscape, ho!

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

Instant translations

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
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Norwegian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish

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.

KF8 support

The Kindle Touch now supports Kindle Format 8, which has a lot more capabilities.

Wi-Fi Enhancements

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.


15 Responses to “Kindle Touch update 5.1 available…major changes”

  1. Caroline Morrow (@sparrowlight) Says:

    This update made my power button unresponsive. Anyone else? I love the layout changes but now that I can’t power my Kindle with the button … I am a little worried.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Caroline!

      We’ll see if anybody else says that…it is troublesome. Try restarting the device

      Home – Menu – Settings – Menu – Restart (I think that’s right…I don’t have my Touch in front of me).

      If that doesn’t fix it, contact Kindle Support at

      You’ll see a

      Contact Us

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

      I’d appreciate you letting me know if they tell you they are getting other similar reports.

  2. Steve King Says:

    What I really would like is for my Kindle Keyboard (K3) to be able to connect to wifi with WPA2 Enterprise.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Steve!

      Well, since we just got it for the Touch, I think it’s possible we’ll get it for the Kindle Keyboard (K3). Hard to say, though…it does cost them a lot to do an upgrade, and they call the Touch the “top of the line”.

  3. Tom Semple Says:

    This is a fantastic update. My favorite new feature is not even mentioned in the update notes: NCX navigator!

    The Go To button now brings up Beginning, Page or Location…, followed by a list of the NCX navpoint labels that mark the beginning of chapters/sections. It shows your current location within the book (the label shown in bold) and associated page numbers (if the book has page numbers). The list is hierarchical so you can collapse level for more efficient traversal of the list.

    This is a feature ePub systems have had forever and formerly could only be indirectly used by Kindle (for navigating chapters with 5way or in case of KT, with swipe up/down).

    Kindle Previewer has had NCX navigator forever, always wondered why Kindles did not. Hope this feature finds its way to the Kindle apps and other current devices.

    If the book has no NCX, there is still the option to jump to the linked TOC (if the book has one).

    You can also filter Home and Archived Items by type (all, books, periodicals, audible, docs, active content) by tapping the My Items label at upper left.

    Wish they’d done more with orientation option. I’d like to be able to rotate 180 so that the power button and any wires plugged in come out of the top (out of the way). I accidentally activate the power/lock button occasionally when that edge rests on top of a firm surface. Also apparently there’s an accelerometer in there that could be used for auto-rotate (as demonstrated by existing hacks). And I’d like to be able to have different orientation and reading options for different items, not one-size-fits all. For example, PDFs may work better in landscape, but I still want to read reflowable format in portrait. But just having landscape is 90% of what I was looking for.

    Another favorite is the ability to select a phrase and search wikipedia directly, as you could on KK.

    • Brian Hellwig Says:

      Thanks for the heads-up on the NCX stuff. I’ve been wanting something like that since forever. Like for the Count of Monte Cristo for example.

      And I turn my Touch off all the time as well… -__-

  4. crstrode Says:

    Now if landscape would work on the browser all would be symaptico

  5. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I sent the following to you in a private communication — I repost it here for all to see :D.

    I did the update manually, it was a little klunky — might’ve been because I did the update while usb-tethered. After the first update completed successfully, it restarted which made the KT become visible as a usb drive — at which point it went through a 2nd somewhat different upgrade process — not sure why — perhaps because on restart it saw the update “bin” in the root folder, and that triggered the second update.

    New features aren’t all that exciting to me:
    – landscape reading — meh — might be useful for pdf’s, but I do all my pdf stuff on my kfire.
    – additional languages — meh!
    – Instant translations — ditto
    – wifi enhancements — if I were in an enterprise environment, this would be useful. Those who are, will now be able to connect using corporate wifi resources
    – kf8 support –TBD
    – tts for periodicals — bufo, you may like this
    – sharing? — TBD — would like it to be like what they recently did for the KF
    – Onscreen keyboard suggestions — TBD — most of the typing i do is credentials — don’t see how this will help

    Text seems a little darker — could be my imagination.

    Translation is pretty lame on first test: “all of the phone calls” was translated into German (which I speak) as “alles des telephons” which back in English is “all of the telephones”

    Sharing still requires FB or Twitter accounts — I would prefer Amazon or Google+ sharing.

    Keyboard suggestions worked and were useful.

    In general this update “flattens” some of the menu choices — making some features more immediately accessible.

    I hope that the KF8 and WIFI features are harbingers of more support for professional and enterprise users in future devices.

    • Edward Boyhan Says:

      In reading the detailed instructions for installing the update on, it mentions that this update will cause your KT to restart twice — another argument for “Read the Instructions First”? — nah — who needs stinkin instructions 😀

      I am noticing that when I select a word (mostly when my thumb slips onto the screen 🙂 ), it tells me that no dictionary is installed — so it can’t give me a definition — go to your archive to get a dictionary.

      Thing is, I have two dictionaries installed (one each for American and British English — I know, I know — I’m a belt and suspenders kinda guy :D). Both of these are in a “Dictionaries” collection — not at the root of the home page. Previous to the update dictionary lookup worked fine. I wonder if the dictionaries being in a collection is preventing the lookup? Will have to experiment.

  6. Tom Semple Says:

    Speaking of ‘improved’ wifi, they broke one of my use cases. One of the wifi networks I inhabit requires clicking to accept a TOS on a secure (https) web page. The SSL certificate happens to be ‘invalid’.

    Previously KT (and every other Kindle I’ve used) would detect that it needed to launch the browser to handle this, would see the invalid SSL and give me the option to ignore and continue. But with the update that option is no longer offered and I can’t connect. Should have gotten the 3G model…

    ‘text seems darker’ – have seen a couple of reports of that now, hard to say for sure myself. It’s kind of funny that every model seems to get an update at some point to address this, you’d think they would have it figured out by now. Or maybe it’s the sort of fine grained tuning that they can only do after evaluating real world performance of each model over a period of time.

  7. Tom Semple Says:

    Some other improvements: You can make text selections that span pages now. You can zoom images beyond full screen and pan, so you can take advantage of whatever resolution is there (e.g. ‘optimized for large screen’ images), just as on Fire and Kindle mobile apps. Tap zone for footnote hyperlinks are larger and easy to ‘hit’ even at smallest text sizes.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      I really appreciate you checking back in with more of your field reports!

      I hadn’t noticed the ability to highlight across screens! That what was of my biggest disappointments with the Touch. I really like quotations (I’m working on a book of them…well, I’ve been working on it for years), so that was awkward.

  8. rogerkni Says:

    “By the way, another choice under More? “Report Content Error”…”

    Oh wow! (First time I’ve said that in decades!!) This sounds like it might be “my” (except it’s obvious) “Typo Feedback Feature,” which is not just for typos (as I’ve argued here in comments). It would (once adopted across the whole Kindle line) definitively establish the superiority of e-books in the minds of the intelligentsia because of its ability over time to wring out errors in published literature. It would take advantages of the malleability of electronic text and use it to raise the level of the communication of ideas and information around the world.

    No matter how much it costs (because it would need to allow user’s notes and marks to be retained across new versions), it’s worth it because it would undeniably relegate printed books to the dark ages. (And its costliness isn’t a bug, but a feature, because it’s something B&N couldn’t afford to match.) Just do it, Jeff!

  9. A J Dimaculangan Says:

    We’ve updated a kindle touch to 5.1 and still are having a tough time connecting to a Apple Extreme wireless router. (WPA2 Personal security) If anyone has any ideas place pass them on.

    — AJD

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, A J!

      I assume it worked before?

      Try telling the Touch to forget the network, and restarting your router while the Touch isn’t searching for a network.


      Home – Menu – Settings – Wi-Fi Networks, then tell it to forget your network (if it shows at all)

      Home – Menu – Turn Wireless Off

      Go to your router. Turn it off (you may need to unplug it). Leave it off for a minute (a full minute). Plug it back in. Let it boot back up (this can take a couple of minutes). Then, turn the wireless on for your Kindle Touch.

      If that doesn’t work, you can try posting again or contacting Kindle Support at

      You’ll see a

      Contact Us

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

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