Big Kindle Fire update is here!

Big Kindle Fire update is here!


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

Kindle Software Updates page

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:

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

press release

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.

33 Responses to “Big Kindle Fire update is here!”

  1. Evelynne Says:

    Thanks for alerting us to this Bufo. I look forward to hearing your impressions of the update. Personally, I’ll need to wait until next week when my HDX arrives in Canada to test it.

    Let’s hope the Paperwhite update isn’t too far behind.

    I’m really excited about this update as I love book GR and Kindle

  2. Bruce K Says:

    I’m assuming the update is for those models with Special Offers removed as well?

  3. Becky from Iowa Says:

    I am absolutely blown away by the voice dictation function. Everything I’ve spoken so far has come through perfectly. I’m just giddy! And yes, I just entered this comment using that function.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Becky!

      Yes, I’m impressed! I’ve tried a number of speech-to-text applications, and this is as good as I’ve seen…or by which I’ve been heard. 😉

  4. Becky from Iowa Says:

    Oh, by the way, do you know where to find the instructions for creating collections? I can’t find them. By the way, be careful with that archive function. Silly me! I just accidentally deleted two movies that it took several hours to download. I wonder if my family thinks I’m nuts sitting up here talking to myself? Love this dictation!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Becky!

      I’ll do more on this later, but long press on the title and you’ll see a choice to add it to a Collection.

  5. jjhitt Says:

    Me: “This is a test.”
    Voice Dictation: “Ambroeus remember the eggs.”

    Adding apps to collections is easy, it’s just a long press on the app icon. (There’s a pick to create one as well).
    VIewing collections I haven’t figured out yet.

    No clue where there 1-Tap Archive is hidden.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      I hope to be able to test things later today. 1-tap archive=settings-device-storage. Battery seems to be lasting forever, by the way 🙂

      That’s weird: the dictation seems to be working fine for me.

      • jjhitt Says:

        Also, when I went to check the version on my HDX, there was an “update now” button. It took about an hour, but the the update downloaded by WiFi direct to the device.

    • Becky from Iowa Says:

      Ha! I wonder if it’s set to record Midwestern voices only? Worked perfectly for me again.

  6. SoundMix Says:

    Update refuses to install on 8.9 HDX. The kindle does not see the bin file in the root folder (yes it’s there). No help from tech support. Waiting to hear back from “developers”. Have tried all but factory reset.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Sounmix!

      Did you copy and paste it on the internal storage node? That’s what I had to do on my 7″. I’ve also seen this for the 8.9″:

      “The file needs to be renamed to update-kindle-”

  7. Lady Galaxy Says:

    You can guess what I’m going to ask;) Does it restore the ability to change text from full justification to left justification?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady Galaxy!

      Unfortunately, no, I don’t see any justification controls. By the way, I am answering this with the new dictation tool . Pretty snazzy! Yes, it knew the word snazzy. 🙂

  8. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I was disappointed that this update (especially cloud collections) is not available to older KF’s. I wonder is there any visibility on the cloud side (ie on the manage your kindle page) of book’s collections membership? Reading the CC help page, it seems you can “import” Cloud Collections into older Kindles/Apps, but only at initial setup of the older device/reading program? Seems clumsy & backwards to me (:grin).

    I will look forward to your evaluations of second screen fling (do you have a Samsung SmartTV, or a PS3?). I’m also interested in how the printing function performs.

    I’ve long been a user of Nuance Naturally Speaking voice recognition S/W with good results. I don’t have very high expectations for voice dictation here, but I am interested in hearing people’s experiences — especially dictating long passages (like this comment :grin)

    Does the one tap archive let you bulk archive a lot of titles, or do you have to do it title by title? I have about 500 books on my KDX, and another 500 on my KT, and perhaps 150 on my KFHD89 — not that this update will help any of that :-(.

    It would be nice to be able to go to your manage your kindle page, and for each book/document listed, see which kindles/reading programs have them loaded, and unload title from devices/reading programs right from the manage your kindle page. I wonder if Whispercast has any of this functionality?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I’m on our desktop right now (you know, I rode over here on a Penny Farthing, and it’s back by the mimeograph). 😉 I’ll do another response for you using dictation.

      I’m still exploring the update, of course. I’m not seeing a presence for the Cloud Collections at

      When I go to the Books tab on my Kindle Fire HDX, I can choose Collections, and then I see all the Cloud ones, too. Those include Collections I’ve made on other devices.

      At this point, it appears to me that Cloud Collections are shared between devices, rather than managed on MYK. I can delete Collections from that screen, and I can add them to home (favorites). Deleting the Collection does not delete the books in the Collection.

      I haven’t been able to test Second Screen, and I probably don’t have the technology at this point to do so. I tried it with my Netgear Push2TV…didn’t see the option, which makes sense to me.

      I’ll try printing at some point: I never have much reason to print. 🙂

      1-Tap Archive works, I’d say, pretty much the way you would like it to work. 🙂 By default, it selects everything that has not been used in the past 14 days. Then, you deselect the ones you want to retain. There are also Clear All and Select All buttons.

      I think Whispercast does largely do what you are describing, but I haven’t used it yet…doesn’t make economic sense for me.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      This is my response using the dictation program. I will keep talking for a little bit of time just to see how it goes. At this point, I haven’t done any editing at all. I am, however, speaking the punctuation. As you can see, it is working quite well. I have only been doing a sentence or two at a time, so I will read something so that it’s a bit longer.

      “Polly was so pleased that her violet eyes sparkled like amethyst, and she just away from her companions across the bridges and into a group of feathery trees lining both roadsides. These trees she stopped to look at with pleasure and surprise for the leaves were shaped like ostrich clubs through feather edge is beautifully curled; and all the firms rejected at the same DT rainbow shoes that appeared in Polychrome’s own…”

      There were a couple of errors in that. I was not reading carefully though

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        I read your passage, but it was largely not understandable — so I wanted to check the original. At first I thought “Polly” might refer to Tom Sawyer, but that Polly was not a young girl. So I turned to Google and “Polly”, “amethyst”, violet. Not the first result, but 4th or 5th turned up “The Road to Oz” by Frank Baum, and I found the original (:grin).

        Now I can see the kinds of mistakes the dictation makes — not unlike those made at first blush by Nuance. Nuance, however, has an elaborate correction mechanism which allows to program to learn and get much much better. I wonder if the Amazon facility has a similar mechanism?

        Anyhow, I had pretty much decided not to get an HDX this year (I already have four Kindles). Then I read your next post on the addition of cloud collections to the new Paperwhite, and I’m giving that a look. It’s a lot like my KT — slightly smaller and lighter. The glowlight is of little interest — as I have no significant other sharing my bed (:D) — nor does Goodreads appeal. However, it does give me the chance to try out Cloud Collections.

        I seem to recall that older kindles have a way of transferring collections from device to device? Would a new Paperwhite be able to get the collections from older devices? What about the content in those older collections? Is there an easy way to transfer those as well?

        What about the obverse? If I create a lot of Cloud Collections on a Paperwhite, and populate them with lots of content, is there anyway to “import” those Cloud Collections and their content into older devices?

        What about reading apps like Kindle on my smartphone or PC? Can I have cloud collections and content imported into them?

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        Yes, I would have liked to have included the original for comparison, which is in the public domain…but I wasn’t set up to do that right then. Here it is:

        “Polly was so pleased that her violet eyes sparkled like amethysts, and she danced away from her companions across the bridge and into a group of feathery trees lining both the roadsides. These trees she stopped to look at with pleasure and surprise, for their leaves were shaped like ostrich plumes, their feather edges beautifully curled; and all the plumes were tinted in the same dainty rainbow hues that appeared in Polychrome’s own…

        Baum, L. Frank (2006-04-05). The Complete Wizard of Oz Series (Kindle Locations 7877-7880). . Kindle Edition.

        Here is what dictation did (again, with me making no effort to speak carefully):

        “Polly was so pleased that her violet eyes sparkled like amethyst, and she just away from her companions across the bridges and into a group of feathery trees lining both roadsides. These trees she stopped to look at with pleasure and surprise for the leaves were shaped like ostrich clubs through feather edge is beautifully curled; and all the firms rejected at the same DT rainbow shoes that appeared in Polychrome’s own…”

        I’m going to do a whole post on Cloud Collections, now that it affects both Fire users and non-Fire users. 🙂 I’ll go into more detail there. A few quick answers:

        Yes, you could import Collections before Cloud Collections.

        Collections have nothing to do with transferring content: they are just organizational labels.

        Collections from my Kindle for PC app were available…not all apps support Collections.

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        THanks for your reply.

        A couple of years back my KDX failed and Amazon replaced it. I was able to copy all the old KDX’s content onto my PC, and thence to my new KDX. I don’t recall whether I transferred my content first, or imported the collections metadata/tags to the new KDX first, but at the end of the two-step process all of my old KDX content was on my new KDX in exactly the same collections they were in on the old one.

        Do you know whether you copy the content first, or import the collections first? This may have only been possible for 2nd gen kindles — as back then info about a device’s collections was maintained locally on the device in a JSON file. With the 3rd gen and beyond the JSON file was gone, and no one knows where the collections info was stored. Based on how Cloud Collections appear to work, I’m guessing they kept the info on their servers — this would make the current implementation of Cloud Collections quite easy and straight forward.

        I will look forward with interest to your forthcoming cloud collections post 🙂 .

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  11. danny63 Says:

    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.”

    Have Kindle Fire HD, which apparently doesn’t have this feature.
    What model Kindle Fire does include the speech-to-text update? Tried chatting with Amazon, but didn’t get question answered.

    Sorry to bother you with an old entry! And thanks for your help!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, danny63!

      Our HD6 does have speech-to-text…do you know which generation yours is?

      Swipe down from the top on the homescreen, go to Device Options…I think you’ll see a Device Model listed (ours is a “Fire HD 6 14th Generation”).

      One thing to note: the dictation only works, I believe, when your keyboard language is set to American English…it won’t work with Canadian English, for example.

      • danny63 Says:

        Have HD 7 model. Don’t find under Device any model number. Indicates I have System Version 7.5.1_user_5170020.
        I was told my Kindle Fire doesn’t have this feature. When I asked (by chat) which model Fire has that option, they sent me a list of their models without indicating which one it was.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, danny63!

        Got it! That’s actually a Kindle Fire HD 7, not a Fire HD 7 (it’s an earlier generation).

        The dictation is part of the Fire OS (operating system), which is why it is on my Fire HD 6, and not your Kindle Fire HD 7.

        However, just to confuse things a bit, it is also on my Kindle Fire HDX 7″, which used the Fire OS.

        The tablets with the Fire OS are:

        Kindle Fire HD 2nd generation (you have the first generation)
        Kindle Fire HDX 7″
        Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″
        Fire HD 6″
        Fire HD 7″
        Fire HD 8.9″

        The kids’ version also counts.

        You can check the current software versions at (at AmazonSmile)

        So, yours doesn’t have it, but there are a lot of options (including the least expensive one) which does.

      • danny63 Says:

        Thanks for clearing this up for me. Glad to know the Fire HD 6″ has this feature, as I think that’s the one I may order. I’m intrigued by its smaller size. Thanks for going to so much trouble!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, danny63!

        No problem, glad I could help.

        The Fire HD 6 is a good model…that’s the one we have for our “guest Kindle”.

        I’m very happy with my Kindle Fire HDX 7″, but it is a lot more money…and it only has the camera that faces you, not both cameras. The HDX does have Mayday, the onscreen tech help, and that is a great thing…but might not make the difference for everybody.

      • danny63 Says:

        Thanks for your help! Am resubmitting my reply at Chrome, as kept getting error message. Will probably order the Fire HD 6″ . Sorry about the double reply in case you get two!

  12. danny63 Says:

    Reblogged this on Danny’s Humor Files.

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