Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kindle Touch Software Update Features Landscape Mode and Text-to-Speech, Among Others

Amazon recently released Kindle Touch Software Update Version 5.1.0, which you can manually download early.

The update features the ability to customize your Kindle Touch with the

language you prefer including German, French, Spanish, Italian Brazilian Portuguese, and obviously English. That isn’t what got my attention though. Just the other day I was wishing I could turn my Kindle sideways to look at a graphic Kindle Firmware Updatebetter. It’s like Amazon heard me. In this update they added Landscape Mode. By going to “Menu,” you can select “Landscape Mode” in books and PDFs to read maps, graphs and tables easier.

Another great feature is Instant Translations, which allows you to tap or highlight a section and instantly translate it to other languages via Bing Translator. Looks like Amazon partnered with Microsoft on this one! Other features include formatting and layout improvements, Wi-Fi enhancements allowing you to connect with WPS and WPA2 networks, Onscreen Keyboard Suggestions as you type making typing faster and sharing options that allow you to share directly to Facebook and Twitter from anywhere within a book.

The final addition to the new firmware is “Read-to-Me with Text-to-Speech.” This feature was another one I was just thinking about the other day as well. This works on books, as well as summaries of newspaper and magazine articles when available from the publisher. I’m going to be honest, I hope they improve the voice of this a little so it doesn’t sound like I’m watching an Anonymous YouTube video. Maybe find someone like the lady behind the Google Voice text-to-speech and voicemail. That’d be a huge improvement! I don’t doubt it’ll come, but in the meantime I think it’s still a solid feature to have.

Amazon also said that there is free access at AT&T hotspots… nice! I’m not sure if this was the case prior to the firmware update, but I wasn’t aware of that and I find that feature very useful! There’s really no reason to get a Kindle 3G with that!

If you are nervous about installing something on your Kindle, don’t worry. This download is direct from Amazon and they provide simple instructions along with a troubleshooting table should you need one, but the installation was straightforward when I did it and I would expect it to be the same for you.

May I also just add that Amazon has superb customer service. This is actually my second Kindle, technically. I received my first Kindle Touch as a gift for Christmas. However, not long after I started noticing some strange things. I called them and they couldn’t explain it so instead they just sent me a new one! Of course I had to send my first one back, but they paid shipping and everything for it. Not a bad deal! Personally, a company’s customer service is at least half the value of the product, if not more. Amazon succeeded in this case.

If you successfully installed the new firmware and are exploring the new features, I would definitely like to hear your thoughts on it. Are these updates what you expected? Surprised by any? Is there anything you think they should have improved on or added that they didn’t?

If you didn’t catch the link I posted at the beginning of this post, here is the link again to get the update.

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