Saturday, May 29, 2010

Kindle v2.5 update delayed - Also, a thinner B/W Kindle may come in August


From the Kindle Software Upgrade v2.5 help page today, at the top, where Amazon asks users to monitor the page for further news, we see:
' Kindle Version 2.5 Overview

We know Kindle customers are anxious to receive the 2.5 software update, so we wanted to provide you with some details about its status. We've rolled out the 2.5 software release to a set of Kindle customers and have received great feedback from these early customers. Based on this feedback, we are making some small adjustments to improve the experience further. We will be rolling out the 2.5 software update to more users over the coming weeks. '
The broader delivery of the new update was to be in late May (which is now), but as of 5/28 they're continuing to roll out the software slowly to more (not all) users 'over the coming weeks' after small adjustments.  Forum members are a bit restless.

No real bugs have been reported on the forum, but it is clear that most who received it recently really need to have the Home page listing of Collections in alphabetical order (they're shown the listing in that order when users do the Add files to Collections process).

Also, there is some slowness in load time that is probably caused by the association of any file with several Collection categories -- so, the info needs to be gathered and in place for the screen display by Collections, which are user-set and changeable -- in my case, I am changing things frequently as it's flexible and it takes time to know what works best for the individual.

Bloomberg's Peter Burrows and Joseph Galante report today (May 28) that Amazon "plans to introduce the next version of its Kindle electronic-book reader in August, according to two people familiar with its plans."
' The device will be thinner and have a more responsive screen with a sharper picture, the people said, who didn’t want to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The new Kindle won’t include a touch screen or color, they said. [Emphases mine.]

...Sony also added a service that lets users download books wirelessly, matching a feature of the Kindle. '
Sony's doesn't involve free global access to Wikipedia 24/7 nor the free basic web browser in the U.S. and Japan for accessing mobile-device-optimized websites but the Sony (Daily Edition) costs $400 to the Kindle's $257.

Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos, earlier this week, said that the company was still concentrating on committed book readers who would gravitate toward very portable, less expensive dedicated e-readers and that the committed book readers comprise about 10% of households.  He seems to be lowering expectations in the face of writers who keep comparing small dedicated e-book readers that use eye-relieving e-Ink (similar to print on paper and superior when reading outdoors) to the larger and more costly multi-function iPads, including the $629 iPad that has the 3G cellular wireless capability which then requires a data plan by the month costing $15-$30/mo.

 Also, a color display screen isn't in the offing for the Kindle for some time because '“I’ve seen some stuff in the laboratory, but it’s not quite ready for prime-time production,” Bezos said May 25 at the company’s annual shareholders meeting. '  The Bloomberg report continues:
' The new version will have sharper contrast that makes e-books look more like real books, the people familiar with the product said. The delay during page turns also will be shortened... '
What's interesting is that, despite purchasing Touchco recently, Amazon says that it's not going to touch-screen technology yet (which some Kindle owners are glad about as they don't look forward to fingerprints on the screen but I don't see why Amazon can't make one Kindle with a touch screen and one without.

To contact the reporters on this story: Peter Burrows in San Francisco at; Joseph Galante in San Francisco at Last Updated: May 28, 2010 20:20 EDT

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  1. When the new Kindle is available, I will want to buy it. The question is, what will I do with my current Kindle 2? I suppose I'll give it to a friend.

  2. geneven,
    Currently, re the currently $259 Kindle price.
    In the used section the going price is $230 and more.

    Craigs List has seen sales at $200+ for used Kindles (written about by some news site I quoted).

    So they tend to hold good resale value.

  3. Andrys, I have the 2.5 on my DX and it seems to me battery life has dropped on it since. Have you noticed this or heard any other reports of this nature?

  4. PaulGuy
    On the forums yesterday I posted that when you do the collections adding and rearranging it has to reindex everything and there is quite a battery drain, but I hadn't posted it to the blog yet.

    Do you see this when you're not changing Collections? i have each book associated with many collections and it slows it down. But so far, battery drain when actually making changes and then it fixes everything up afterward.

    Slow open time, which I can get around by sorting in most recent before shutting it down instead of sorting by Collections.

    Let us know of anything else you notice. Thanks!

  5. I could care less about 'thinner' but a more responsive screen with higher contrast would be very welcome. Not sure that would be enough incentive to upgrade from K2 for me though (saving up for an iPad or something like that ). I'd like to see:
    - support for non Latin scripts
    - PDF reflow, PDF link support

    But that could be a software update for K2.

    I was hoping for a touch screen and maybe a slightly larger one with the same dot pitch, in the K2 form factor or smaller.
    The existing physical keyboard is too limiting and takes up too much space that could be used for screen. A soft keyboard would allow for different keyboard layouts (diacritics, other input methods). It might be nice to have bluetooth for audio, voice annotation, using external keyboard, with keyboard equivalents for joystick and other Kindle buttons.

  6. Tomster,
    Yah, the 'thinner' feature doesn't matter to me either but the other features sound good.

    As far as "something like that" this indicates you know there are a lot of iPad challengers due this year at much lower cost and with many of the missing capabilities. I doubt their screens would be as slick, but we'll see soon enough.

    I use the keyboard constantly because I'm always searching in a book or on the Net for info about something I'm reading, and I have not been happy with other devices' flat-press, no-dip, no-feedback and slow-response of their virtual keyboards, one examplethe Nook's, which makes you wait about a second before your keypress results in a visible character.

    However, I do want a better keyboard! I actually like the DX's except for the numbers sharing the top row.

    I'm afraid voice annotation will come from another maker but, like you, I do want the PDF reflow capability and the link support for it, as well as annotations ON a PDF or on a file associated with the PDF.

    Yes, an external keyboard option would be great.

  7. Is there any information on whether Twitter/Facebook will work internationally like wikipedia does or will it only work in countries with "full" internet privileges?


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