Reports are coming in from MobileRead Forum that Kobo has rolled out another update for their ebook readers, and it’s a big one. Early adopters are saying that the new firmware lets them customize their reading experience and that there’s a new option to show or ignore Kobo’s X-ray-like Beyond the Book feature.
While no official changelog has been posted, users have reported the following differences:
- Touchscreen Zones – As you can see in the screenshot at right, there’s a 4th option for setting the page turn zones. Readers can now set their Kobo to advance a page when they touch the bottom half of the screen.
- Keyboard – As an American, I believe that an umlaut is some strange foreign country, but if you use them regularly then you will appreciate the new onscreen keyboard. Press and hold a key on the Qwerty keyboard and you’ll be offered the option to select a relevant accent, umlaut, or other special character.
- Dictionary – Readers can now set the default dictionary for a book, saving them the effort of changing the dictionary each time they look up a word.
- Reading progress – The old firmware enables readers to track their position in a chapter, a feature which I always thought was useless. With the new firmware readers can choose to track their reading position based on the book, and not the chapter.
- Beyond the Book – Readers now have the option to enable Kobo’s bonus content feature. I haven’t encountered this myself, but Kobo says that by “clicking on highlighted words in your eBooks, you can explore related articles, multimedia, and online discussions, letting you delve deeper and embrace your curiosity”.
Headers & Footers – When I reviewed the Aura H2O, I quickly learned to appreciate a hack which added the option to remove the headers and footers from ebooks bought from Kobo. (Sideloaded ebooks don’t have the header and footer.) With the new update Kobo has taken that hack and made it a standard option. This is going to free up screen real estate which had previously been wasted on the header and footer, so I’m sure many will love the option.
Update: It turns out the header and footer option is not included; it still requires the hack.
The new firmware updates can be downloaded from Kobo, but rather than send you there I will instead direct you to MobileRead, where there’s an ongoing discussion of the bugs and other issues in this firmware update.
MobileRead is also were you’ll find the modding community that adds tweaks and other useful features which improve on Kobo’s work.