Kindle Touch Update Adds Support for KF8, Landscape Reading Mode, and More

The Price Fix 6 and B&N’s new Nook are getting all the press today, but that’s not all that happened. Somewhere in the middle of the chaos, panic, & disorder Amazon released a new update for the Kindle Touch.

The new update adds a whole slew of features, and to be honest I’m still downloading it. It doesn’t appear that Amazon is pushing the update out to the devices, so I suggest you go get it here. It’s worth it.

First and foremost, the KT is getting support for new types of Wifi encryption, including WPS and WPA2 Enterprise. It can also now display ebooks in landscape mode, a feature that I know a lot of readers have been wanting for a while now.

This update adds support for the (now standard) 7 languages supported by Kindle platform as well as instant translations to and from each language. You’ll probably need Wifi or 3G active for the translations; it’s powered by Bing Translator. Sadly, the translation service doesn’t seem to work; I looked up the word lorry and it didn’t provide truck as a translation (UK English to US English, doncha know).

Other new features include TTS (I thought it already had this), more sharing options, and suggestions for the onscreen keyboard. But the big one, IMO, is the new support for Kindle Format 8. The Kindle Touch can now support all the fancy new formatting found in the latest and greatest version of the Kindle format. It’s not Epub, but it comes awfully close.

Amazon

4 thoughts on “Kindle Touch Update Adds Support for KF8, Landscape Reading Mode, and More

  1. They’ve also updated the main page… it’s still boring. And you can now add Calibre created Periodicals to your collections and delete it as well. Nice changes all in all, though I wish they’d update the main page to be a little more eye catching and perhaps covers of books next to the title in lists…

  2. KF8 Fixed Layout is not supported currently, my guess is it will never be (I was able to sideload a sample, but it didn’t navigate and display correctly; you cannot download them directly from Amazon). BTW TTS is not a new feature, and it remains English-only, at least for US customers (but I think you add other languages just by dropping in files found elsewhere).

    Bing Translate (like Google Translate) ‘unifies’ regional variants into a single language. So it won’t translate ‘lorry’ to ‘truck’ or vice versa; they are both considered ‘English’ . But when translating from other languages to English, it seems to prefer US English (even when my browser, or Kindle, is set to UK English—maybe it uses IP locale?). On Kindle, the Translate feature supports 16 languages, not just the 7 Kindle itself supports, including CCJK, Russian, and Hindi (going both directions, at least my Russian text sample translated to English, very poorly). The nice thing is that should Bing Translate improve, so with Kindle’s Translate feature.

    There are a couple of quiet enhancements, like ability to select text and search Wikipedia directly (something you can do with Kindle Keyboard); ability to ‘filter’ home screen and archived items by type (all, books, documents, audible, periodicals, active content).

  3. the landscape feature is nice to finally have! it works well, and the touch gestures rotate along with it. the only quirk is that landscape mode rotates the content counter-clockwise, so the Home button ends up being on the left. for some reason, i expected it to rotate the other way, so that the home button ends up on the right (but maybe that’s just because i’m right-handed.) still, i’m glad the KT finally has landscape mode, especially for things like images and multi-panel comics.

    the home screen itself does look “cleaner”, although as usual, there are no cover images. the lack of cover images isn’t a huge deal to me, but considering every other eReader has them, it is a bit annoying that Kindles still don’t.

    one other thing i noticed is that page loads seem quicker. however, i think the previous update (from a couple weeks back) may have slowed my page loads for some reason, so i’m not entirely sure if they are in fact quicker than before, or if it just fixed the problem from the previous firmware update.

    i’ve played around with the translation dictionary, and it seems to work very well (at least from what i can tell with basic word lookups), but yes, it does need to be connected to wireless (which it prompts for if it’s not already turned on.) and the Wikipedia lookup is a VERY nice feature: it’ll give you a concise definition in a popup box (just like when you look up something on the internal dictionary), but also gives you a “More…” link that loads the full Wiki page if you want it. obviously that requires wireless to be turned on as well, but again, it’ll ask if you want to turn it on so you don’t have to use the main menu.

    overall, between the KT8 support and the landscape mode themselves, this is a VERY worthwhile download. the added changes are just extra icing on the cake!

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