When Jeff Bezos revealed the Fire Phone on Wednesday, one of the cooler features demoed in the presentation video was a new trick for the Kindle app that enables readers to scroll an ebook with a simply flip of the wrist.
As we saw on Wednesday, Fire Phone users can tilt the phone just right and make the text scroll up the screen. If they touch the screen with their finger, the text freezes in place.
It’s a pretty cool trick, but there were a lot of other cool features in that 90 minute video making this one hard to find. With that in mind, here’s a shortcut those of you who don’t want to sit through the full video for just a minute or so of reading fun.
Yesterday Len Edgerly of The Kindle Chronicles posted a video which demos this one feature. It’s about 2 minutes long, and it’s narrated by one of Amazon’s Kindle product managers.
This is neat, but Cameron James is not quite telling the whole truth in the video. He says that this won’t work on any other phone; that’s not strictly true.
As I pointed out back in April, you can find a similar feature on Samsung’s smartphones, including the Galaxy S4, which launched last year. Samsung called it “smart scrolling”:
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, it enables what Samsung is calling “smart pauses” and “smart scrolling”.
In short, the “smart pauses” feature recognises if you are in front of the phone or not, and can save what you were last doing when you move away from the device and decide to come back to it. “Smart scrolling” refers to the phone’s inbuilt eye-tracking technology, which detects if the phone has been tilted and scrolls up or down accordingly.
I even found a demo video. It’s not as nice as the one len posted, but it’s obvious we are looking at similar ideas.
Samsung’s smart scrolling doesn’t work with ebook apps, so far as I know, so in at least this one way Amazon has bested Samsung.