Kindle Software Upgrades

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Over the past two weeks Amazon has been distributing the latest firmware upgrade (3.3) for the Kindle 3 (now called the Kindle with Keyboard).  There are several upgrades to the software.  According to the Amazon Press Release on their message boards these are the main features:

  • 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 Manage Your Kindle.
  • 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 www.amazon.com/kindlepersonaldocumen
  • AmazonLocal deals on Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers: 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 www.amazonlocal.com.
  • Voice Guide Shortcut: Kindle Keyboard users can now quickly turn the Voice Guide feature on and off by holding the Shift key and pressing Spacebar.  Voice Guide reads aloud menu options, content listings and item descriptions. To learn more about using Voice Guide on Kindle Keyboard, visit Customize Your Reading on Kindle.

The first two are important for students and others that use their own kindle documents.  This also means that purchasing books outside the kindle store and then emailing them to the kindle will allow you to store those books in the archive just like a regular book.  I know I now get some of my review copies as emailed personal document files and I can see them in my archive and manage them from my Manage My Kindle web page.  This gives me less of a reason to maintain a separate database of all of my books that I have purchased outside of the kindle store.

The big negative is that you can not sync your location on a personal document with any of the kindle apps (iPad, iPhone, Android).  The apps themselves will be updated soon to allow for the syncing, but it is not enabled yet.  Another issue that continues to be a big problem for me is general organization of the archive. If you now add personal documents to the archive then some people’s archives could explode in size.  My father uses his kindle for his sermons.  I know students that use their kindles for lots of school articles.  At some point Amazon is going to have to expand the organizational tools available to the archive.

Each Kindle account (and it looks like it is the account, not the number of users) have been allowed 5 GB of cloud storage for personal documents.  This is a fairly large amount of storage.  Here is the Amazon help to show you how to manage your personal document storage.

You will also be able to put personal documents in collections, which has not be possible before.  I personally do not use collections, but I know many people like to keep all of their kindle books on their device and use the collections to organize them.

The AmazonLocal deals only apply to users that have a Kindle with Special Offers.  I have not had any of the special offers show up on my kindle yet, so I do not know what types of deals these may be.

The Voice Guide Shortcut is intended for users with limited vision that have difficulty using the small type that is in the menus.

According to message board discussion of the software upgrades, some people have reported much better battery life.  This seems to be a small group, but if you have had poor battery, this may solve the problem.

If you have not received your update, you can manually update (instructions here) or keep waiting.  Make sure you turn on your wireless, have it ‘Sync and Check for Items’ and that will ping Amazon and may initiate the download.

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