Word Runner is Amazon’s Solution to the Speed Reading Problem, and It Just May Work
RSVP speed reading tech (like that used by Spritz) has been around for close to three decades, but in all that time it has had two problems: it causes headaches in some users, and there are many reports of reading comprehension issues.
We don’t know if Amazon has solved the former issue, but it looks like they have a solution to the latter.
Earlier today Amazon unveiled their new tablets and other hardware, as well as the new Fire OS 5 Bellini. One of the new software features Amazon mentioned in relation was Word Runner, a speed reading option for the new tablets' Kindle app.
Word Runner is designed to help improve your reading speed by flashing one word at a time in the center of the screen. That is exactly what Spritz and other RSVP apps do, but Amazon has added a couple nuances that I have not seen before.
Update: That doesn’t mean, of course, that those features haven’t been used elsewhere. The ReadMe app can match Word Runner feature for feature, and it works with Epub.
As you can see in the GIF above, Word Runner slows down the flashing when it comes to the more difficult words, or as Amazon said, it "automatically and algorithmically slows down for punctuation, paragraph breaks, and difficult words".
They’re calling that feature Dynamic Pacing, and it really is a feature that I haven’t seen before.
Amazon also mentions on the Word Runner page a feature called Brake. If you miss a word you can just tap and hold the screen to activate the Brake. This instantly pauses Word Runner, and lets you scroll back and pick up wherever you’d like.
I haven’t seen either feature myself, but I do have a video below to share with you. Len Edgerly of The Kindle Chronicles scored an invite to the press briefing in SF, and he got to play with the new Fire tablet.
Word Runner is coming soon to the Kindle Android app, as well as other Fire tablets, but like the new typography Word Runner is not available for all ebooks (nor personal documents).
That’s a downer, but I’m still looking forward to seeing this in person.
lead image via Cnet