SOFTWARE UPDATES for promised additional features for the KINDLE FIRE HDX's and the new 7" HD 2nd Gen
Amazon has made a software update available as of today for the new HDX line and for the new Kindle Fire Basic 7", which is called "HD 2nd Gen" (which replaces last year's basic Kindle Fire that had no HD, no camera, and no HDMI-out and which sold, retail, for $159).
Most of the new features added in this update group are described below, and they also include the usual general improvements as well as the mentioned feature enhancements.
One neat feature not mentioned in the software-download pages, but noted in the press release, is the addition of Voice Dictation.
"Voice dictation converts your speech to text -- available in all languages when online; offline support available in US English"
In addition to the Voice Dictation feature, some other features mentioned in Amazon's press release but not detailed on the update pages include the following:
"New accessibility enhancements that enable blind and visually impaired customers to save a separate accessibility profile for children in Kindle FreeTime, scroll lists automatically when swipe navigating, hear enhanced sound feedback and screen orientation changes announced, and have more control when editing text and navigating web content."
"Dozens more new features, performance and battery life improvements, and bug fixes."
These updates will be delivered wirelessly as usual in a distribution over a few weeks -- but if you'd rather get them now, you can do a manual update by downloading the software and updating your device via USB cable. Here are direct links to the software-update pages for the 3 tablets involved (emphases are mine):
Update Page for Kindle Fire HD 7" 2nd Gen
Update Page for Kindle Fire HDX 7"
Update Page for Kindle Fire HDX 8.9"
The main added features described on the update pages (shown below) are the same for all three tablet models except that the sentence under the "Enterprise" category on the HDX 7" update page inadvertently omits "Protect secure data on your Kindle Fire with device encryption tools" although the feature IS included in the described features for the lower cost HD 7" 2nd Gen tablet. So, that would just be an oversight.
* Find and share books with Goodreads
Goodreads on Kindle lets you connect with the Goodreads community to follow friends and see what they are reading, and share and rate books on your Kindle Fire.
* Organize your content with Cloud Collections [Long requested]
Organize your content library into collections like "Favorite Books" and "Sports Apps" that are synchronized with compatible Kindle devices and reading apps.
* Watch movies and TV shows on another device with Second Screen
Fling movies and TV shows from your Kindle Fire to your 2013 Samsung Smart TV or PlayStation 3 using Second Screen.
* Learn more about books with Smart Lookup
With the Smart Lookup feature, you can quickly look up words in the dictionary or Wikipedia or translate text in a book.
* Print from your Kindle Fire [Built-in support instead of dependence on an external app]
Print Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, photos, e-mails, calendar events, and contact information from your Kindle Fire to a printer that supports mobile printing.
* Free up storage space with 1-Tap Archive
With 1-Tap Archive, your Kindle Fire groups all content that has not been used recently so you can move it to the Cloud with just one tap.
* Enhanced enterprise features [See Note above]
Protect secure data on your Kindle Fire with device encryption tools, manage security certificates, and connect to your company’s Wi-Fi network—whether you’re at home or at work -- with remote VPN capabilities.
* Set alarms and view additional time zones with the Clock app
Use the all-new Clock app to check the date and time, set an alarm clock, and more.
The press release adds a larger explanation of Second Screen
"Fling TV shows and movies from your tablet to your big-screen TV. Second Screen turns your TV into the primary screen and frees up your Fire HDX to provide playback controls, a customized display for X-Ray, or simply a place to email, browse the web, and more while you watch a movie. Second Screen is available for PlayStation 3 and Samsung TVs, and will be available starting later this year for PlayStation 4."
This is in contrast to Miracast, which -- like the cabled HDMI-out, in last year's HD models, will "only" MIRROR what is on your tablet (whether a movie or web-browsing) HDTV without using cables from your tablet to the TV.
Here's a recommended Miracast adapter (seen mentioned positively in the Amazon Kindle Forums based on a recently added recommendation by Amazon as "Certified" at its tablet Miracast help page) -- The Netgear Push2TV PTV3000 --
-- BUT NOTE that Amazon says it requires a Firmware-update for the adapter before using it.
The update likely fixes a main reason for some '1' ratings in earlier customer reviews on the product page). The adapter is $60 but Amazon has its 30-day refund policy on this Prime shipping product shipped and sold by Amazon.
Here are two recent comments given on the Amazon Kindle Community forums when I asked if anyone had found a Miracast adapter without notable lag time:
' Steve Z. says:
I have read the reviews of the miracast adapters sold on Amazon as well. They all seem to have a lag problem. Then I read the reports by several here in the forums that they had had good luck with the mirroring technology with their HDX's. I also did a search in Amazon help and see that Amazon recommends the Netgear Push2TV adapter. This happened to be the same one others in these forums have suggested. I purchased one figuring I could return it if it didn't work. It arrived last Monday and the first thing I did was update the firmware. ( the newest firmware is dated in November.) I hooked it up to my TV and it immediately worked. Turning on mirroring in the HDX is very simple. I detected no lag or stuttering. It mirrored well with pictures, video (youtube), and simple games. (Have not tried a graphics intensive game yet.) Last night we watched an entire Amazon Prime movie with no hiccups or errors. Works for me.
Jules Nichols says:
I agree with Steve Z, I got my Netgear Push2TV adapter on Monday, I didn't update the firmware, but went straight to try it out. Worked fantastic. No lag or stuttering. I'm using it with the 7"HDX. '
Note that the recommendation (and certification) is by Amazon and not by me, as I haven't bought the product yet.
For MORE DETAILS on the new feature enhancements on this update, see the earlier HDX/HD2 articles with far more thorough descriptions of what they do:
1. Overview of New Features
2. Things to Know about the new features
Those articles have clarifications for some points that have puzzled some.
ADDED TIP on a tablet cover + a new "Personalization" feature
The first tip is for those who find the Origami cases more pricey than wanted.
1. The Poetic Slimline cover is notable for having 65 customer reviews currently, with 63 of them 5-star and the other two, 4-star, while being inexpensive ($9.95 currently for the 8.9" model) -- and while this page highlights the 8.9" HDX model, the bordered TEXTBOX under Availability at the top of that product page gives links for these covers for the 7" HDX and HD 2nd Gen models as well. They all carry the same ID number for links. Each headlines a 3-year manufacturer warranty from Poetic.
A new Customization or Personalization feature for Kindle covers was announced, and you can read about that on the "Create your own Kindle accessories" page but from what I see it has to be ordered at the same time you order the case. You can upload your own photo or image design or choose from several pre-designed ones offered by Amazon. This is all I know for now, though.
Probably enough info, overall, for one day? Am still working on a report on the 8.9" HDX 64GB I bought and have been putting through the mill (and it generally has exceeded my expectations).
Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.
For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
|Temporarily-free books - Non-classics |
UK: PubDate Popular
The Kindle Daily Deal
What is 3G? and "WiFi"? Battery Care
Highly-rated under $1,
|Most Popular Free K-Books|
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
Top 100 free
Top 100 free
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.
USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
99c Notepad 1.1, 99c Calculator,
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