New updates bring Audible to basic Kindle and new customization options

Today’s announcement of the all-new Kindle Oasis included big news on the integration of Audible audiobooks into the device.  Audible integration will roll out as an update when the new Oasis device ships on October 31, 2017.

Also included in the announcement was the news that the basic, entry-level Kindle (current generation 8), along with the first generation Oasis,  will also be getting Audible integration over the coming months. This may be a feature that makes the basic Kindle (which does not have a backlight) more desirable as a device for prospective owners. As noted in this post on The eBook Reader, at least according to its reviews,  the basic, entry level kindle is not well liked.

Today’s announcement also included news of new firmware updates that would add new settings for reading customization, including new font sizes, bolding options and new margin options including an option for left-aligned  /ragged right text..

The new features are:

  • New Font Size and Bold Settings: Now choose from more font sizes than ever before–and five levels of boldness–for whichever font you choose to read with. Combined with the new, 7-inch Paperwhite display, you can personalize your books so it’s perfectly comfortable for your eyes.
  • New Accessibility Options: In addition to the OpenDyslexic font, we’ve added a feature to invert black and white on the display if you have light sensitivity. The new enlarged display option also lets you increase the size of items like the text on the home screen and library as well as the book icons to make the all-new Kindle Oasis easier to read.
  • Light Settings: Built-in ambient light sensors automatically adjust the display to your surroundings whether you’re in a dimly-lit room or outside in the sun–and can be fine-tuned even further based on personal preferences.
  • Ragged Right Alignment: You can now read using left-aligned (ragged right) text.

To me, one of the most intriguing of the new features is the ability to invert black-and-white on the display for those with light sensitivity. This is generally a feature found on apps and tablets, not e-ink readers (although there is supposedly a hack for the Kobo line here.). My old Literarti e-reader had this feature, and I can tell you, being able to read white text on a black screen in a dark room Is a great feature for reading in the middle of the night without disturbing your partner! 🙂

The new firmware features will be delivered as a free over the air update to the Kindle Paperwhite and newer devices starting today.

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Unhappy with Your OS 5 Fire Tablet Update?

fire HDXEarlier this week, my Fire HD 6 updated to OS 5.1.1 Bellini. I started to write a post on the topic, , but there didn’t seem to be a lot of fuss about it so I put it on hold. Today, however,  I seem to be getting a lot of hits on an old Fire OS update post looking for information on the latest update for the tire Tablets.  And, so….

Last December, Amazon said that they would provide an update to OS “Bellini” for older Fire tablets. That 5.1.1 update rolled out  over the last week for a lot of people  and there have been a lot of complaints. For the record, my own personal  comment was “Yuck!” Add in the recent update for the Paperwhite and there are a lot of unhappy customers.

A look on the Amazon discussion forums shows some interesting threads on the topic:

Complaints range from anger at the change, tales of features not working to stories of children coming to their parents in tears because they can’t figure out what happened.

Personally, I can understand the frustration. The night before the update, I was reading a book on my Scribd app. The next day, it was like a totally different device. That’s one thing that doesn’t happen with a physical book.! It wasn;t that big of a shock for me because had already used the Bellini OS on the $49 Fire 7. If you are used to the older OS, it is quite different. I hate the fact that I have to be more careful abut swiping the lock screen now. The new OS is much more sensitive to where you swipe than the older version was.

In an unusual move for Amazon, they are allowing customers who own certain models to downgrade the OS back to the old version, OS 4. Check your Manage Your Content and Devices page to see if your model is  eligible for the downgrade. (See photo.)

device option os updateThere are a couple of caveats, however. Downgrading involves a factory reset, meaning that you will lose everything on your Fire. Everything will have to be reinstalled from the cloud, so make sure you have synced and backed up all your personal documents. All your apps and anything sideloaded will have to be reinstalled.

Also be aware that your downgrade may not happen right away. You initiate the downgrade from the Manage Your Content and Devices page and it can take up to 72 hours. You must leave you device turned on with wi-fi enable and make sure your battery is charged at least 50%.

Amazon has a help page with instructions specifically  for  downgrading here. Even if you downgrade, you will still have the option to upgrade at a later time.

So, how do you feel about the update? Love it or hate it? Are you downgrading or deciding to live with it?

New software update for the Kindle Keyboard

Yesterday, Amazon announced an update for the Kindle Keyboard. This updates document and Whispersync features as well as Amazon Local offers for those who have Kindles with Special Offers.

From the Amazon forums:

We’re excited to let you know that we’ve started delivering a new, free software update for Kindle Keyboard over Wi-Fi, which will bring software enhancements and new features, including:

–Download your archived Personal Documents on Kindle Keyboard: You can now view and download your archived personal documents to your Kindle Keyboard conveniently anywhere at any time. Your personal documents will be stored in your Kindle library until you delete them from the Manage Your Kindle page at http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle.

–Whispersync for Personal Documents on Kindle Keyboard: Just as with Kindle books, Whispersync automatically synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks and annotations for personal documents (with the exception of PDFs) across the Kindle devices. Learn more about Kindle Personal Document Service on http://www.amazon.com/kindlepersonaldocuments.

–AmazonLocal deals – Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers users in many regions can now view, purchase and redeem AmazonLocal deals directly from Kindle Keyboard – no computer, no printer, no hassle. AmazonLocal offers savings up to 75% off products and services from businesses in your city, national chains and online merchants. Learn more about AmazonLocal on http://www.amazonlocal.com.

To receive the update, turn your wireless on and connect to an available Wi-Fi network. From the Home screen, press Menu and select “Sync and Check for Items.” The software update will automatically download in the background and install the next time your Kindle goes into sleep mode. You can also manually download the update to your Kindle. You can learn more and download the update at http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates.