Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kindle Software Update v2.5 coming. Nook 'shipments' for Best Buy ramp-up. - UPDATE2

See UPDATED Software Version 2.5 article dated May 14

For earlier Kindle software update v2.5 news, click here to jump to that section.

I see a flood of articles headlining that the Nook seems to have sold more units than the Kindle in March, these lead assessments being an unusual use of the word 'sold' as used in in news articles about sales of ereader-units.

  Normally, the mainstream understanding is that "units sold" means sold to customers rather than the manufacturer-sales to a vendor and its outlets.  It's usually described as a key indicator of interest or anticipated selling activity.

  CNET's Don Reisinger posted a more accurate story on this, and the information in that article is discusssed below the welcome Kindle software-update news here.

Blog entry updated twice with details 4/29/10 - Original posting 4/28/10

The Kindle Chronicle's Len Edgerly pointed me to the good news that Amazon has announced the new Kindle software update that was promised to hit our Kindles before the summer -- a main focus of Kindle owners having been ORGANIZATION of books on the Kindle for some time.

  Update 2.5 is being rolled out to a "limited group of users" in what would normally be termed a "beta" phase for feedback from the beta software users, with a broad release date in late May this year.  It's not an official beta but if the 'broad release date' is late May and some members have reported getting the update already, it leaves time to 'adjust' the software update based on reports from the earliest group.

  Wording on the page indicates the update will not be for the original Kindle 1, no real surprise, as the screen-handling of the cursor navigation for the Kindle Klassic, as it's often called, is "indirect" and uses entirely different software instructions from the "direct" screen cursor access for the current Kindle 6" and Kindle DX.

 Answers to questions we had last night are in the online documentation.
  I've linked to Amazon help pages for each new feature that has one that I can find, as those describe how these new features work.

* Collections: Organize your books and documents into one or more collections.

Sorting Content and Using Collections
Once you have this software (most of us in late May), we would still go up to the top of the HOME screen and navigate the SORT options, which will now include "Collections," which are categories we create.  The set-categories given us before (Personal Docs, etc.) are no longer shown.

The HOME screen will look the same, but when we go up to the SORT options area at the top of the screen, we'll be able to view the Collections we've created.  You can see that the categories or collections are shown along with the number of books or documents in those collections.  The default option will remain "Most Recent First" unless we arrow over to Collections option and click on it.

Collections are created from a Menu option on the Home screen and can be renamed or deleted later (see screen image below).

  A book can be in several collections, but even if it is in only one collection, the deletion of that collection won't affect the book, which will then just show on the Home screen.

  Collections can be be transferred across registered Kindle devices and you'll be able to import collections from your other Kindle devices under the Archived Items page.

  If you re-download a deleted book, it will download to the collection or category it was a part of before.

* PDF Pan and Zoom: Zoom into PDFs and pan around to easily view small print and detailed tables or graphics.

  Zooming on Images and PDF Documents
  That page will show how it's done for books and for PDF documents.

* Password Protection: Password protect your Kindle when you're not using it. 
  Here's the guide.  This feature is Off as a Default and is optional.
    The password is set from the Menu/Settings screen and you provide a hint.
    If you don't remember the password, you'll get a phone number for
    Customer Support who will help you reset it.

* More Fonts and Improved Clarity: Enjoy two new larger font sizes and sharper fonts for an even more comfortable reading experience.

* Facebook and Twitter Posts: Share book passages with friends
    on Facebook and Twitter directly from your Kindle.

  Sharing Highlights and Notes on Facebook and Twitter
  The linked Amazon help page for this (just above) details how this is done.

* Popular Highlights: See what the Kindle community thinks are the most interesting passages in the books you're reading.

  Annotations: Highlights ...
  Part of this feature is already included in our private, password-protected Annotations webpage (we have this page if we left Annotations Backup enabled in the Menu/Settings options).
  Here's an example of what highlights for a book look like on our private annotations webpage (ignoring my own idea of privacy for a moment).

  UPDATE2a - The part that involves our Kindles, "popular highlights are marked with a grey dashed underline in your reading," is one feature that can be turned off by choice (and I think I'd turn it off until I've read the chapter or book because I don't want to be led by what others highlighted while I'm still reading.  I don't read movie reviews in detail for the same reason.  I'd like to read just what the author wrote, without cues from others.  The feature is probably very useful for bookclubs though.

The Collections feature looks especially well thought out.

(Wished-for enhancements that are Not on the list:  Direct editing of PDFs and ability to directly-read non-rights-protected ePub w/o converting them first).

 See my article on the most recent (current) Kindle-update, which is version 2.33 or 2.34, depending on the Kindle unit and updating needs.

The Amazon Customer Service Team mentioned on the official Kindle forum and on Facebook earlier that this update promised before Summer would include a font that is twice the size of the current largest Kindle font.  There'd been some hope that some menu options would be included in text-to-speech by then but I don't see that listed.

WHEN DO MOST OF US GET THE V2.5 UPDATE? (A very few have already received it.)
This update will be slowly rolled out and delivered over Whispernet (Kindle Wireless) with no manual-download option for now.

  What I'd do - I will likely plug in the adapter at night after turning Wireless ON through the Menu system, just in case, but most of us will not get this until mid to late May.  It's *important* also to remember to turn Wireless OFF after you remove the adapter and have downloaded any subscriptions/periodicals that might be coming in.  I'll appreciate the early birds taking care of any bugs before we get it though :-)

UPDATE2b The Comments section here, the email bag, and the forums show that a few more than I'd expected are getting the update already.  Although I left my DX on overnight, with charger in and Wireless ON, I didn't get one and probably won't for awhile, as these things go.

  Reports are that the Collections feature is intuitive, logical and therefore easy to use, and that the PDF zooming and magnification feature is very effective, removing the need to re-scan articles.  From what I've read, the Facebook/Twitter feature comes a little later.

  I've added a paragraph in the 'Share highlights' section also, which mentions the dotted grey underlining for passage highlighted by others.  In a forum, I read that if three or more people highlight overlapping portions of a passage, this will trigger the alert that others have highlighted the passage.


The original story was about the number of Nook units 'shipped' to VENDORS, rather than 'sold' to customers.
  March is the month during which the Nook was being readied for Best Buy stores throughout the U.S., so of course Barnes and Noble is ramping up for the minimum supplies needed for each store, considering the Christmas-season problems with supply at their own store.
  More-sensational headlines will 'sell' additional traffic to a site but they can too-often be misleading, as this one is shown to be.

Amazon's corresponding Kindle arrangement with Target is different in that this is said to be a pilot program that starts in 100+ stores in Florida and in the Headquarters store in Minneapolis, after which, apparently, they'll do a full rollout if Target/Amazon handling of it goes well.  I have visions of the Sony PRS-505 sitting unvisited when I first saw one at Target.

Target is said to have a 90 days refund policy with no re-stocking fees, which would be even better than Amazon's 30-days Full-Refund policy.
  Target is not, at this time, they said, planning a different policy for the Kindle.  More on this later.

  The Barnes and Noble Nook return policy has been 14-days and involves a 10% restocking fee.  Best Buy has not said anything about how it will handle returns on the Nook yet.

With the Nook newly offering web-browsing, see the differences between the wireless capabilities of the Nook and the Kindle, with regard to where or when the feature can be used by each.

See the ongoing Guide to finding Free or Low-Cost Kindle books and Sources
  Check often: Latest free non-classics, shortcut Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. My kindle DXi upgraded today. The two new fonts are most definitely HUGE. As to what I see there is no way to edit PDFs directly.

  2. meann,
    At double the size of the biggest current one, a few letters would fill the page :-)

    I guess they're selecting Kindles for the small-group roll-out rather than asking people to volunteer for beta testing.

    I earlier went back and bold-faced 'not' (included) and underlined it as well as capitalizing the 'n' so that people would know I was saying editing of pdf's is not included.

    My first attempt had been too unclear, as the 'not' didn't stand out.

    Thanks for the really fast feedback and info!

  3. The lack of ePub support is still the most glaring and irritating issue on my wishlist. I'm annoyed to see twitter support, but not ePub. There's little technical reason that they shouldn't be able to add support, as PDF viewing is much more processor intensive. Has Amazon actually given a reason?

  4. One thing I'd really like is to see book covers on the home screen. Primarily aesthetic, yes, but I'd like to identify books at a glance by image.

  5. I've got the update (yeah!) for my DX. I started a collection (Star Wars), and added all my Star wars books to it. Easy. Now, when my Kindle is set to show items by Most Recent First, it has the Star Wars collection, AND all individual books in that collection are still separately listed on the Home Screen. Only showing by Collections, do those books that are within a collection disappear from the Home Screen. (You open the collection, and all the books within it are set out. You can then sort by Most recent, Author, etc.)
    Rick Askenase

  6. To: hylaride,
    Yah, support of non-DRM'd ePub was the 2nd thing I wanted most, after organization. Sharing passages with people F/T was not even a thought. But some people do like that idea.

    Re your question, I don't remember Amazon saying a thing about ePub though they do own Lexmark, which owns Stanza, which focuses on ePub. I'm not asking for DRM'd ePub, just the ability to read, directly, standard non-protected ePub files. So, I agree with you, what's so difficult for them on this? On the other hand, I know I can convert an ePub book I want within about 3-5 minutes, but it's silly not to support the format for non-DRM'd files.

    To Debra Hamel,
    Re book covers - it's a nice idea. Most would eventually revert to a text list option since some people do have 1000+ documents and looking at covers would slow things down, but being able to see the cover is a nice idea.

    On e-Ink screens and the slowness of loading images (vs with LCD screens) we won't likely see that on a Kindle until they go to the new technologies like Mirasol wutg e-paper-like qualities along with more normal processing speed.

    To Anonymous aka Rich Askenase,
    Ah, I should have known you'd get the update lickety-split :-) You have the mojo!

    It makes sense that when sorting by Most Recent First, the Collection groups AND the books in them would be shown because otherwise Tech Support would get countless calls from people unable to find a book (especially with accidental navigation-button pushes that put a book into a collection).

    I like the cleaner screen when you can just file by Collections -- more like looking at a well-organized root folder and its subfolders.

    AND, great that you can do the sorting by Date, Title, Author within Collections. They used the time well in thinking all this out.

    Thanks for the report, Rick!


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