Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kindle Fire Updates

Amazon has just released new firmware for the Kindle Fire, upgrading version 6.22 to 6.3. This is probably the most significant update since the release of the Fire. In additional to general but unspecified performance improvements, the update adds:

  • Sharing of highlights and notes in Kindle books to other readers of the same book, and sharing via Facebook and Twitter. Sharing is a feature already enjoyed by users of the E-Ink Kindles.
  • Book Extras is similar to the X-Ray feature available on the Kindle Touch. It provides a snapshot of the important characters and terms in the book. Like the X-Ray feature, Book Extras is not available for all titles.
  • Personal documents that are converted and transferred via Amazon's email service are now archived in the Amazon Cloud, as are annotations. This is the same service already available to E-Ink Kindle owners. Note that personal documents side loaded directly to your Fire via USB cable are not archived in the cloud, and neither are annotations.
  • Students can now buy thousands of print replica textbooks at deep discounts. These textbooks have the same color and formatting of their print editions.
  • The Fire now has a "Reader" mode. This works the same as "Article" mode on the E-Ink Kindles- removing all extraneous content to allow you to focus on the main text of a web page.
  • As requested by many Fire owners, the loan period for movie rentals downloaded to the Fire now starts when you first start watching the movie, instead of when it is downloaded. This allows you to stock up on movies before a trip without having to worry that they'll expire before you can watch them. Its another example of Amazon's focus on the customer.
  • Faster reconnect of Wi-Fi when you wake up your Fire from sleep mode.
The upgrade will be automatically pushed to all registered Fires when they are connected via Wi-Fi over the next several weeks. If you want to update your Fire now, go to to download the update and transfer it to your Fire via USB cable.

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