Monday, May 6, 2013

Kindle App for iOS and Kindle Fire News: Kindle Fire HD Sale -'FIRE4MOM' promo code gets $20 off as Mother's Day offer on Kindle Fire HD 7-inch. tablet. Kindle for iOS update v3.7 adds accessibility for the visually impaired

Promo code FIRE4MOM brings $20 off
for any Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablet through Mother's Day, May 12, 2013. (US only)

That means the price for the 16 GB model will be $179, and for the 32 GB model it'll be $209.

As before, I highly recommend, because of the size of multimedia files, the 32 GB model; think of it as deciding on an additional built-in 16GB SD Card for the additional $30.  It'll help avoid having to swap apps in and out of the Kindle Fire HD to keep from running low on space (which can slow down some program processes). This is for the standard Kindle Fire HD with 'Special Offers' on the Lock Screen only, and many do prefer to know about Amazon's special offers.  If you don't like that idea, $15 more does away with them.  Many of us choose to keep them though.

Be sure to know that Amazon's promo codes cannot be applied to orders placed with 1-click purchasing, so you'd need to turn that off if wanting to use the promo code.

Also, they specify only one promo-code purchase per customer.

Kindle for iOS: the new Accessibility Features
Amazon's forum announcement of these new accessibility features for its Kindle reading apps for Apple iPhones, tablets, and iPod touch (those running iOS 5.0 or higher) is followed by Kindle customer comments that include advice by Apple device owners about where to find the various features and how to use them.  Worth a look if you've one of these devices.

  There is good general info and help on these apps at the Amazon Kindle for iOS Help page.

The new features, using Apple's VoiceOver technology, are aimed at visually impaired users and include the ability to have read aloud to you ~1.8 million Kindle Store titles, added navigational help, as well as more accessible X-Ray and sharing features.

Important also is that Amazon promises a similar update for NON-iOS versions of the app eventually, and it would be a good use for the Ivona Software they acquired in January, already used in the Kindle Fire for text-to-speech, voice commands and "Explore by Touch."  Ivona offers voice and language portfolios with 44 voices in 17 languages

  Lifehacker describes the use of Siri's voice for this, pointing out that it's not done with a tap of a button.  "You have to enable VoiceOver in the accessibility settings in iOS before you can have Siri read to you, and even then she only takes one line at a time as you move your finger down the page...For those who are blind or have poor vision, VoiceOver support makes navigating the Kindle app and reading books possible."

  Here are more details, from the Amazon Kindle forum announcement and thread:
' New accessibility features of the Kindle app enable blind and visually impaired customers to:
- Read aloud over 1.5 million titles available in the Kindle Store using Apple's VoiceOver technology. Over 300,000 of these books are exclusive to the Kindle Store. Over 700,000 books are less than $4.99; over a million are less than $9.99.
- Seamlessly navigate within their library or within a book, with consistent title, menu and button names; navigate to a specific page within a book and sort books in the library by author or title.
- Read character-by-character, word-by-word, line-by-line, or continuously, as well as move forward or backward in the text.
- Search for a book within their library or search within their book and navigate to specific text.
- Add and delete notes, bookmarks, and highlights.
- Use customer-favorite features like X-Ray, End Actions and sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
- Look up words in the dictionary and Wikipedia.
- Customize the reading experience including changing the font, text size, background color, margin, and brightness.
- Use iOS accessibility features like Zoom, Assistive Touch, and Stereo to Mono, as well as peripheral braille displays.

Other new features include:
- Easily rate and review books by accessing `Before you go...' directly from The `Go to' menu
- Enhancements to `Before you go...' including the ability to download a free sample and email yourself a reminder about recommended books.
- Additional Font Selection for Japan - Hiragino Mincho ProN (Serif)

These new accessibility features are available first on the Kindle app for iOS and accessibility features will be added to other Kindle apps in the future. Customers can download the new Kindle for iOS app for free from the App Store on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch or at  Blind and visually impaired customers interested in using a Kindle app can also choose Kindle for PC with Accessibility Plugin, a free application for Windows PC's.

You can download [for free] a quick reference guide here: Kindle for iOS Accessibility Gestures - Quick Reference Guide.

If you need assistance with this update, please drop by the Kindle Help Forum '

Current Kindle Models, worldwide for reference, plus free-ebook search links.

  NOTES on newer Kindles.
Updated Kindle Fire 2 Basic  7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$229
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $269/$299
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $399/$499
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $99
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi+3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free slow web
Kindle DX - $379 $299 Discontinued
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - ~£89 Refurb'd
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
Kindle Fire 2, UK
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB, UK
Canada - Kindlestore, CDN-$
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - $79
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $129
Kindle Paperwhite, 3G - $199

*OTHER International*
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Paperwhite WiFi $139, 3G/Wifi $199

France Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle
Brazil - Amazon Brazil
China - Amazon China [?]
Japan - Amazon Japan

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. If all you are interested in is TTS-like functionality, just set the 'Three-click' setting (in Accessibility settings) to toggle VoiceOver by triple-clicking the Home button. Then you can turn it on and off on demand rather than having to use VoiceOver navigation all of the time.

    With the Kindle app, then, once you have assigned Triple-click to VoiceOver, you just open a book. Triple-click Home to activate VO. With VO on, single tap selects an item and reads its text or description (in reading mode, it reads out the line you tap on), two finger swipe down starts continuous reading, double-tap will do what single tap normally does, so it will pause reading to bring up menu/options. And of course triple-click Home will exit VO mode.

    It's nice to have, and makes me feel a little less sad that my Paperwhite does not have TTS, since I can pretty much always have both it and my iPod Touch with me.

    The Audible app for iOS also works with VO pretty well (by design—as noted in 'what is new' notes). iBooks works okay, of course, and Adobe Reader also. Unfortunately, most other reading apps I've tried, not so much: often you get 'trapped' and cannot operate the app at all.

    1. Tom, thanks for the advice on both comments. Will link those in the body tomorrow. You are sort of amazing!

    2. I've also discovered that the Kindle app will read out books with 'TTS disabled'. That may a bug, but not one I am ever going to complain about. iBooks apparently does respect the publisher's settings, according to some 'using iBooks with VoiceOver' info. But with the iBooks app it is possible to avoid the pause+sound that gives audible feedback of a page turn if you switch to 'scrolling' mode, so it is more like the 'pure' TTS feature publishers complained about when Kindle added this originally, rather than one targeting accessibility, as in this case.

      For English, at least on iPod Touch iOS6, you can choose between a female American voice or a male British voice by changing the International/Language setting.

    3. :-) I wouldn't complain about it either, Tom. I love it.

      Will add this too. Away a lot so my blog is way overdue. I should stop the Kindle Edition unless I get back to at least 5 days/wk.

      I do wish we'd get a male voice as well for the Kindle Fire TTS! Thanks again.

  2. The Kindle for iOS Accessibility Gestures ebook is worth looking at too, if only to appreciate how much attention Amazon gave this feature and pick up some more pointers, like: 2 finger tap stops reading. 4 finger gestures on my iPod Touch are a little difficult to manage, though.


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