The new feature I most want to try on Fire tablets

The new feature I most want to try on Fire tablets

I’ve ordered the new

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $49.99

I think Amazon is going to have a big hit with the low price tablet…no, it’s not the best tablet out there, but I think it will fit many needs. I’ve talked before about how Amazon is building the best roads, not the best cars…and hey, you may not need a $130,000

Telsa Model X

no matter how cool it is. 😉

You might be just fine with a low end car, most of the time for most of your uses.

That’s what I think the new $50 tablet will be: enough car more of the time.

There is already a “waiting list” for this one. It’s expected to be in stock again on October 26th…the first ones should be shipping today as I write this.

Amazon has now put up a page with a video of one of the new features:

Word Runner (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

If you are reading this on an EBR (E-Book Reader) not capable of displaying video, there is plenty to read on that page as well.

Word Runner is Amazon’s new speed reading feature…somewhat similar to Spritz..I advised Amazon to add something like this back in 2014:

Advice for Amazon #1

Basically, it shows you one word at a time in the same spot in the center of the screen…your eyes don’t have to keep shifting, so you can read more quickly.

Amazon has given it some nifty features: it slows down for harder words, and you can apparently easily back up if you miss something (just sneezing, you might miss a sentence).

Try it in the video, if you can…you’ll see you can do it.

Now, I’m not sure how much faster it will really be, although Spritz was supposed to be faster for people. I’m not sure that we don’t sometimes process a paragraph at a time, when we are skimming. We know that people don’t need to see all the letters in a word to read it. In fact, usually just the first letter and the last letter is enough, if you know how long the word is. For example, you can probably read this:

T_e  q_ _ _k  r_d  f_x  j_ _ _ _d  o_ _ r  t_e  l_ _ y  b_ _ _ n  d_g.

The good news is that you won’t need to buy one of the new tablets to use it. I think it will come to other recent Fire tablets, but it will also be on Kindle for Android.

That last one may be especially important.

I don’t read much on my phone, although many people do. I find the screen to be too small.

If I’m only reading one word at a time, though? Shouldn’t make a difference that the screen is relatively small…it’s big enough for one word. 🙂

Might this be hard on your eyes? I’m guessing it could be…it might reduce your tendency to blink, so you may not be able to do it for long periods of time without using the “brake” feature.

I think speed reading is a killer feature, especially for non-fiction. Part of it will depend on your retention…it might not matter that you could read your homework assignment 20% faster if you retain less of it.

We tend to remember things by what is different, what isn’t the routine.

With Word Runner, I’m a bit concerned that everything will be the same…you won’t have the variation of the “shape” of sentences and paragraphs.

I remember reading before that retention might be worse with e-books than with p-books (paperbooks), because you didn’t have the imperfections on the pages.

I don’t really know for sure…so I really want to try it!

It might also be quite effective with personal documents!

It’s only going to work with English language books, at least initially. Why does the language matter? That algorithmic stuff that slows it down for hard words…it might not know what is a hard word in Yucatec or Walloon…

We all have so much content available!

I think the newly announced

TiVo BOLT (at AmazonSmile*)

will benefit from two big innovations.

One is commercial skipping…the entire block of commercials, seamlessly, if it’s the right type of content (which includes the big networks).

We pay a few dollars extra to have no commercial on Hulu…and it’s well worth it!

The other innovation is “speed watching”. It can speed up recorded video by 30%…and it will adjust the audio’s pitch so it doesn’t go chipmunky on you.

You bet I would have used that on the Presidential debates! Those are long…I want to see and hear every word, but it takes a long time.

There you go! If you try the Word Runner video and have an opinion, or if you have other comments, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post. Are there other features you are itching to try? I’m also looking forward to trying Alexa on our 2nd gen

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*) $99.99

I’d love to hear about it…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

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.


6 Responses to “The new feature I most want to try on Fire tablets”

  1. Tom Semple Says:

    I’m looking forward to trying Word Runner when the HD6 gets the update for this. It would be great if they would update the Fire Phone too, but that’s probably too much to hope for. Despite the smaller screen size of the Fire Phone, I prefer reading on it to the HD6, as it is more portable, and I like the auto-scrolling feature.

    Preliminary information is that Word Runner (like Enhanced Typesetting) is only available for some books, and will not work at all with Personal Documents.

    The Kindle app for Android is several features behind iOS, not to mention Fire. No TTS, no Goodreads integration, no Enhanced Typesetting. If it supported TTS, one could use Spritz as the TTS engine, as you can with Google Play Books, for example. While you can use Talkback to read out text (and this will be easier to turn on and off with Lollipop), and that works well with the Kindle app, it is not as simple as TTS would be. But I think we’ll be waiting a long time for that feature.

  2. Karen Says:

    I ordered the new Fire HD 8 and it came yesterday on schedule. I’m on my fourth reader, my fourth tablet, I have the Fire Phone and the Echo, so safe to say I’m an Amazon junkie. This is the first time I’ve even wondered about whether I bought the right thing. I love the size and feel of it and, mostly, the new user interface. The ads on Amazon say it has Mayday, it does not. I used my Fire HDX Mayday to ask where I could find it on the new one and found out it doesn’t. I hardly ever use it anyway but thought I just couldn’t find it. It says it on the comparison of tablets table on the website. However my biggest question comes with screen resolution which I thought wouldn’t be that noticeable and especially with the screen touch response. I don’t ever remember having to tap more than one time for response but sometimes it’s 2 or 3 times on this. Would love to know if anyone else is experiencing this.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Karen!

      I’ll comment more, but the new tablets not having Mayday when they say they would really be a serious problem, as far as I’m concerned! I’ll let Amazon know.

      • Tom Semple Says:

        Note that Mayday on the new Fire devices does not include the popup video window as on the HDX and Fire Phone, presumably voice-only. But it should be there somewhere (look in Help?), maybe not where we’re used to looking for it. It is ‘Coming Soon’ to the HD6.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:


        I’ve received a response from Amazon and have asked for more clarification.

        I was told unequivocally that it is different on the new models.

        My current understanding?

        Mayday has no presence on your device…no indicator. When you call Kindle Support, they’ll be able to do screen sharing with your tablet.

        That sounds like a big step backwards to me, but I need to know more. I’ve asked Amazon this:


        Can the representative control the device, or is the customer just sharing the screen?

        How does the customer give permission for the sharing? I know Amazon had been testing a “co-pilot” type option before.

        Does the representative have any “presence” on the device? Is there a video window? Is there audio on the device of the representative? Or is the human to human communication all done over the phone?

        Will Mayday as we know it, with the video window, still be available on the older models which have it for now?


  3. Has Kindle e-book development stagnated? | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] The new feature I most want to try on Fire tablets […]

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