Friday, August 15, 2014

Kindle Tips: Kindle Reading app update for Kindle for Android (v4.6) - Lots of enhancements but some are reporting crashes with the update, so waiting for the next update may be a good option for some.


Kindle reading-app for Android updated with Audible Integration improvements and several other feature enhancements

A copy of the forum announcement:
' Initial post: Aug 12, 2014 3:00:21 PM PDT

Megan H. - Forum Moderator says:
We have a new, exciting software update available for Kindle for Android. The latest version of Kindle for Android 4.6 has several new features and performance improvements.

What's been improved?

We've improved the listening experience for books with audio:
* When you're listening from a Bluetooth device, playback will automatically pause if Bluetooth is disconnected. A new permission is required for this, "Pair with Bluetooth devices." More information about the device permissions we require and why, is available at:
* Go hands-free with Immersion Reading; enjoy automatic page turns without the screen shutting off.
* Learn more about reading and listening with Whispersync for Voice.

Helpful account information can be found on the Settings screen:
* Rename your device to make it easier to recognize when buying books from the Kindle store.
* Check your registration information, is the app registered to the correct email address?
* Learn more about reading personal documents with Send to Kindle.

Viewing options inside the book have been updated:
* "Use system brightness" is a more intuitive option for a brightness settings. Tap the "Aa" icon at the top of the screen to choose this new option. If you're not finding the "Aa" icon, tap the center of the screen to have the menu bars slide into view. This improvement was made with the help of your feedback!
* When the menus are hidden (tap the center of the screen to show or hide them), tap the bottom right corner of the screen. Do you notice a small padlock? Tap it to lock the orientation. Now you can turn the device in any direction so you read on your side or back.

Improvements were made to the Table of Contents as well:
* A direct link to the book cover is at the top.
* "Front matter" is next. Funny name but this where you'll find the title, copyright, dedication and more. There's an arrow to the right of the label. Tap it to close the front matter section.
* If a book has page numbers we'll show them alongside the chapter names. The current page you're on will be highlighted.
* If another chapter is selected, you can always get back to your previous location by tapping one of the placeholders on the location seeker at the bottom.

Lots of other improvements and fixes are included as a result of your feedback. Please keep the feedback coming, we're always listening and will be sure to send your comments to the Kindle for Android team. '

How does Whispersync for Voice work?
Amazon's Whispersync for Voice page has a clear diagram showing the basics of how the parts relate and how you use this convenient feature (without relying on the computerized voice we heard with the older eInk Kindles that had audio).

If this is a NEW Android app install
If you've never installed the Android app,
• go to Amazon's Kindle for Android app page
• Select "Download now"
• Follow the instructions to download the app to your device
• After installing the Kindle reading app, you'll need to register it to your Amazon account.

Kindle reading-app Updates - Where?
  . Kindle for Android Phone update page at Amazon appstore
  . Kindle for Android Tablet update page at Amazon appstore
  . or, if Google play was the original source anyway, Android Updates from Google play.

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.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

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  1. Some of the stuff they mention was there in the previous version: orientation lock, immersion reading, the Settings stuff.

    Another feature is 'full screen' mode (on Android 4.4+). The notification and system buttons disappear and the app window expands to use that space. Very nice. And audio playback can now be controlled from the lock screen.

    The TOC improvement is major: prior to this you there was no 'current chapter' indication so it was not clear which chapter you were reading (iOS app still has this issue).

    It still lacks XRay and ability to work with 3rd party dictionaries (iOS has both of those features).

    I find it more stable than the previous version, so far. It crashed on first launch on my phone but not since then. One issue is footnote navigation. The 'Back' (system) button returns to the library, so you have to use the 'placeholders' on the navigation slider to return to where you were.That's not always possible, e.g. if the slider button overlaps the placeholder.

    1. I had an old Kindle for Android (v4.2.x) on my Samsung Galaxy S2, which I no longer use as a phone. It did allow full screen - no status line. I use it as a tiny tablet as I can read my photography books on it and it allows me to zoom the illustrations (even with my old v4.2.x). I just updated it and it's still at v4.2.0.291 because my Samsung phone is still at OS v2.3.6 if you can believe it, and it tells my S2 software is 'up to date,' I'll try the Galaxy Tab 10.1 later, since it's on least.

      My Nokia Lumia, a Windows phone shows Kindle for Windows to be fairly primitive. I can't highlight on it, even, and I can't zoom any illustrations, So sometimes I bring the little Android for Kindle out for reading and it saves the battery on the phone.

      Glad v4.6 is more stable for you after the initial crash. On the Kindle forum, some are finding it crashing often and the footnote navigation a problem. That 'Back' button was reported too (in the middle of a lot of off-topic stuff). Others, like you, see no real problems.

      Finally the TOC update! I think X-Ray uses a lot of resources but is one of my favorite things. I imagine they'd reserve that for their Kindle Fire devices (but Apple's buying customers are too plentiful to ignore, I guess).

      Thanks for all the good feedback and points!

    2. Side note, Tom: Tonight my Windows phone, the Nokia Lumia 1020, said I had a new software update. It was to make it possible to get the Win 8.1 update also. So I did. Now to find out what's different on that (but it's not going to improve Kindle for Windows phone app). Hated Win8 but Win 8.1 is really a pleasure on the Surface Pro 2 tablet-top.

    3. I do have a few problems with the app: lock screen controls don't always show up when audio is playing, and sometimes it doesn't sync between audio and text (audio plays but text doesn't advance). And some attempts to return to the Library just open the book up again.

      I think Amazon prioritizes things by how many people use the app. The desktop apps and Windows phone app probably don't see much usage, so it is hard to justify investing to improve them. On the other hand unless they improve the apps, people will tend not to use them. Regular feedback probably helps, too.

    4. That's a good point, Tom. I haven't written to them about how primitive the app for Windows phone is to me. It drove me back to my Android phone (not used as a phone anymore) but it's a way to carry very little and read and not have to use my Windows phone battery. On the other hand, that Windows phone goes on forever. By that, I mean about 4 days when I use it for things even. Internet sharing for 2 hours the other day to a laptop used only 5%.
      At least the desktop app can highlight (!) :-)

    5. Re the other, I expect there'll be another software update for Kindle for Android fairly soon, considering problems like the ones you describe, as well as the crashes for some upon exiting or opening the app...

    6. Interesting thing about the 'placeholders': when TalkBack (accessibility feature) is turned on, you get a popup list of them with locations/page numbers to tap on. Otherwise (as a vision impaired reader) you would probably have difficulty seeing or even knowing there were little dots in the navigation slider that one could tap on. It is a little more complicated to set up 'text to speech' mode on Android than iOS, but it's to Amazon's credit that the app is more or less accessible (as is the iOS app), though accessibility is not as polished as the iOS app. Accessibility seems to be the exception rather than the rule for reading apps. Even Google Play Books does not work well with TalkBack (though it does have 'Read Text' ability even in normal, non-TalkBack mode). I was very surprised that the Nook app is accessible, given how infrequently they seem to update their app. Maybe that is because they've been preparing for the Samsung Nook. Kobo app is rendered pretty useless with TalkBack turned on (same is true of iOS with VoiceOver turned on). Gee I can't wait for that B&N announcement on Wednesday. Actually, I can. The Tab 4 (on which the new Nook is based) has less screen resolution than last year's Nook tablets. And while Good e-Reader seems to think it will be identical to the Tab 4 (including cameras, sd slot), I wonder if that will prove to be the case. It would make some sense for B&N to be able to price it less than the Tab 4 itself. Otherwise, why not get the Tab 4? But we'll see on Wed.

    7. Thanks for all that, Tom (!) I guess accessibility is something they all feel they need to do (federal contracts for one thing) but it doesn't affect as many people, so it's lower on the list. That Nook backward-looking tablet is so odd -- but the B&N bookstore people should like it, and they will probably continue to give access direct to Google Play since they're not providing a semblance of what Google services do (while Amazon has its own strong ecosystem and wouldn't be opting for Google's GooglePlay and Music priority. B&N must have SOME surprises in store.

  2. Kindle for Android got an update today to (not sure what it was before). Surely they have fixed a few bugs. I did report a bunch of issues a couple of days ago, they came back and told me to deregister/uninstall/install/re-register, but it didn't seem to help anything. So we'll see...

    1. Thanks, Tom. I looked for an update yesterday but didn't see one. I guess you'll try the things that didn't work before. Look forward to hearing.

    2. Tom, it's odd that neither Amazon's product page nor Google's has the update yet -- they're still showing '4.6' ... Even maintenance updates should be announced, since the over-the-air delivery system is not super reliable (well, they're better, with alerts system than they were with e-Ink). Mine are usually much later than others get them. Haven't checked my Samsung tablet yet. Have to plug it in first :-)


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