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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Updating Kindle DX or Kindle 2 to Kindle 3.x Firmware

Having discovered an already functional jailbreak for the Kindle Touch recently thanks to independent developer Yifan Lu, I was also pleased to note that there is a way to get your older Kindle devices somewhat more up to date.  It turns out that the hardware improvements in the Kindle 3 as compared to the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX, particularly the processors, were not significant enough to make it impossible to run the newer version.

To get this update installed, you will need a few things.  The most important, and possibly the hardest to get in some cases, is a working Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard) that has been jailbroken.  Assuming you have a spare Kindle 3 laying around, the same site linked in the instructions to follow contains detailed instructions on the jailbreaking process under the “Projects” tab.  You will also need a minimum of 900mb free on your Kindle 2/Kindle DX and 720mb free on your Kindle 3.  Naturally a USB transfer cable will be important as well.

Assuming you have all of these things, check out this page on Yifan Lu’s site.  The included instructions are simple to follow and while it will probably take you anywhere from one to three hours to complete the entire process, there is little room for error if you follow the order of operations correctly.

There are several things that you must be aware of before starting in on this:

  • Should you allow either of your Kindles to lose power while they are in use, it is likely to cause some major problems.  Charge them before you begin.
  • Once completed, you will have to repeat the process for any future firmware updates.  The Kindle 2 or Kindle DX will not be able to automatically access the files released for the Kindle 3.
  • While the hardware difference between these Kindles is not large enough to make the process inadvisable, as it would be if going from the Kindle 4 to the Kindle 3, there is a difference.  You will experience slight lag as the downside of your improved functionality.
  • Active content such as Kindle games will not work as a result of the update.  The developer of this update process doesn’t know exactly why, nor does there seem to be any major fix for this.  Be aware.
  • Sound/Music playback on the newly updated device will be flawed.  Since it will have been jailbroken it is possible to install an alternate music player to fix this, but it is an additional step for people who make much use of the eReader’s audio playback abilities.
  • There have been some unconfirmed reports that extremely large PDF files have issues on devices updated in this fashion.  This is likely the result of slightly inferior hardware and will probably not be an issue compared to the greatly improved PDF handling, but it is worth noting.

We can’t quite say why Amazon chose not to update these older Kindles, although it has been speculated that they were consciously abandoned to drum up business for the Kindle 3.  Also possible is the idea that faster processing simply opens more doors to new features that couldn’t be productively implemented otherwise.  Either way, at least now it is possible for owners of older Kindles to get the most out of their devices.

While the newer Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch are great, eReaders are made to last and there is no reason for a satisfied owner to throw away their perfectly good Kindle 2.  With the Kindle DX it’s an even more obvious choice, since there is yet to be a hardware update to the larger form and it looks increasingly like there never will be.  This update makes it even more desirable for those who need the 9.7″ screen.

Goodbye Kindle 2, Hello Kindle Touch!

Kindle Touch

Kindle Touch

I got tricked by Amazon and thought the release date for the Kindle Touch was November 21 so I had mine sent to my parents’ house since I would be there for the holidays.  I am just now getting to try out my new Kindle first hand, and very pleased with it so far.

As many know, the Kindle Touch was released a week early along with the Kindle Fire.  Both hit the market at rock bottom prices, and well before Black Friday.  That gave developers time to create apps and games for the e-reader and tablet.  Reviews are good for both overall.

The Kindle Touch‘s screen has a glow like quality to it. At first I thought it might glow in the dark, but it doesn’t. It is just the big upgrade in screen quality and e-ink quality between the Kindle 2 and Kindle Touch.  I decided to skip the Kindle 3 generation because when it came out, my Kindle 2 was barely 6 months old.

So far, I’m loving the compact size of the Touch, the crisp screen, and the grip on the back. My Kindle 2 seems incredibly clunky now especially because of the keyboard. The touch screen on the new Kindle works great, and I’m able to turn pages with ease.  I’ve already finished one book, and adjusted the font size to where I could read it without straining my eyes.

I noticed a comment in another post about the Kindle Touch on this blog that made a good point.  The Easy Reach software makes it easy to tap and move to the next page, but it can be a challenge for lefties.  I am left handed, and do see that it is a little more challenging to turn pages.  Amazon could probably add a next page tap on the left side like they did with the buttons in the past.  That is really the only criticism I have so far.

I can hold the whole Kindle in one hand.  It is about 3/4 the size of my Kindle 2.  It is amazing how quickly technology can change in just two short years!

I chose the wi-fi only with special offers version, so I am also getting used to not having 3G available on a whim.  It isn’t too much of a hindrance because I can access a wi-fi hotspot just about anywhere.  Even if I don’t have wi-fi, I can use the USB to connect my Kindle to the computer and download the book files that way.

So, I give the Kindle Touch a thumbs up, and recommend it for anyone looking to upgrade or try a Kindle for the first time.  I am a hard core reader, and I can see the e-reader holding it’s own for the foreseeable future.  E-readers have the look and feel of a regular book.  To me, they don’t fit in the same category as computers, tablets and smartphones.  I don’t find myself looking for a break from my Kindle like I do the other gadgets.

 

 

Amazon to Offer Trade in Option for Older Kindles.

I have a Kindle 2, and I just got it for Christmas two years ago. Then it was $259. I love my Kindle, but it sure is looking clunky after seeing the specs from the newest models that were recently released. What a difference two years make! The Kindle Fire is $60 less than my Kindle was when I got it.

The newest Kindles no longer have a keyboard, which makes them so much more streamlined and lightweight. There is also the touch screen model and of course, the tablet. The good news is, Amazon is now offering a trade in option. Click here for more detailed discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of the trade in option.

Don’t expect to get much money out of it. You can get $28 for a first generation Kindle.  Can you believe that it was twice as much as the Kindle Fire is now, when it was released four years ago?  The second generation 6″ Kindle like the one I have goes for $39. The Kindle DX is $135.

The deals are not that great, but the trade in values go a long way if you want to use it towards a new Kindle.  I ordered the Kindle Touch that will be available November 21, and a trade in would cut down a big chunk of the $99 price tag.  I am really excited about the touch screen version because that is what I am so used to now with it being so popular these days.

I haven’t decided whether I want to pursue the trade in program option yet. I have several family members that would love to have a Kindle,  With that in mind, I’m sure libraries, schools, and charity organizations would love to have old Kindles also.

The trade in program also includes a variety of other popular electronic devices such as the iPod, Touch, iPad, tablets, and more.  Some offer Amazon credit.  For someone who buys stuff on Amazon all the time, that’s not a bad deal.

So, now you have several options to choose from if you have an old Kindle lying around that you want to get rid of.  So, glad to know that old Kindles can still be put to good use.

Kindle Hack Brings 3.1 Firmware to Kindle 2 and Kindle DX

While the general functionality of the Kindle hasn’t changed much from version to version, at least as far as the act of reading goes, as time goes on the newer firmware for the latest generation of Kindles has introduced a few things that owners of the earlier models might be justifiably unhappy about not having access to.  Even if you do read enough eBooks for the Kindle to pay for itself in a year or two, nobody really likes the idea of being forced to buy a whole new one from time to time just to be able to use the newest options.  Working with this concept, an inventive individual by the name of Yifan Lu has managed to come up with a way for owners of the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX to update their devices to the latest version of Amazon’s firmware.

It isn’t a quick process necessarily, but it seems to be a well outlined process.  You need a jailbroken Kindle 3 handy(instructions on how to do that are provided as well) in addition to the device you are upgrading in order to extract the working 3.1 setup, but other than that there’s nothing special required in terms of equipment.  Even that is simply to avoid possible penalties from Amazon for distributing the copyrighted code behind the Kindle, but you can’t blame somebody for wanting to avoid that.

There are a number of benefits to updating to Kindle 3.1:

  • Real Page Numbers
  • Improved Web Browser
  • Improved PDF Support
  • and More!

The disadvantage, of course, is that doing this will be complicated for your average user and might carry some small amount of risk to it.  Also, at present there are two major bugs that arise from this update.  The audio player becomes effectively unusable thanks to degraded sound quality, and Kindle Active Content will not work.  Both of these may be fixed at some time in the future, but I haven’t heard with any certainty that they are being actively worked on.  Surprisingly, the upgrade is said to involve no significant decline in performance.

Since the option to run the newer features on older Kindle models is clearly there, it seems a bit manipulative of Amazon to deny them to early customers.  I’m aware that they need to find ways to make money and that it serves to push the newer products that much more effectively, but this isn’t the way to do it in my opinion.  Thanks to this hack, however, if you happen to need a second or third household eReader, you have the option of a fully functional refurbished Kindle 2 with only a little bit of work.  There have been some great deals on them lately if you keep your eyes open.  It’s a good way to get the most for your money even when you dislike the idea of the ad-supported Kindle with Special Offers.  The Kindle 2 isn’t quite as nice to use as the Kindle 3, in my opinion, but that doesn’t make it bad by any means.

If you are interested in this hack, check it out at: http://yifan.lu/tag/kindle/

We take no credit for the work involved in making this great new tool.

Changing the Feel of Kindle

The move from paper books to eReader devices might have been inevitable, but that doesn’t always make it easy. In a lot of ways, we’ve been fairly lucky. eInk displays make the pages read like paper, current technologies allow us to hold something the size of a book in our hands as we read, in a lot of ways it isn’t that much of a difference to read a book now than it ever was once you get used to the little things.

The one bit that I found the most difficult to deal with, at first, was the feel.  There’s just something about holding that brand new hardcover straight from the store or an old favorite pulled off the shelf for the twentieth time.  It’s got a pleasant, almost nostalgic feeling to it that the Kindle can’t really match unassisted.  My way around this was to take advantage of the cover options.

There’s a company I found a while back called Oberon Design that is in the business of making, among other things, eReader covers.  They’ve got them for all the varied Kindle versions, as well as a couple other devices, but I personally went with the Kindle 2 cover since that’s where they had the most designs to choose from so far.  It’s hand-tooled leather, feels good in your hands, and brings back some of the sensations that are lost in the move to synthetic media.  Can’t say it hurts to know that I can drop the thing in a parking lot(and I have) without damaging my favorite toy either.  The $75 price tag whether you’re going for a Kindle, nook, or Sony PRS cover is definitely a little steep, but it seems more than worth the money for the improved experience and security that the cover brings.

Received my Kindle 2

I meant to publish this post yesterday but got carried away by other business. First of all – kudos to Amazon for timely shipment and large supply. I don’t think that anyone who ordered Kindle 2 was left without one. Sony should take the time to learn from this good example. A friend of mine was sitting on the fence until the last day and finally placed his order at 3PM pacific time on the 23rd and he received his Kindle about the same time I did – around 3PM pacific time on the 24th. I checked the Amazon website and looks as of today (February 25th there is no backlog) – you can still order and get it on the next day (or later if you want to save on shipping).

Here it is…

Kindle 2

First impressions are really good. Amazon Kindle was a good thing to begin with and they didn’t do anything wrong in the second version. In fact I wouldn’t call it v2 (nor does Amazon say so anywhere on the device itself) – it’s a nice evolutionary development of well engineered device:

  • Photos and pictures look better with 16 shades of gray rather than 4
  • 5-way button is a bit more convenient than scroller (but that’s just my opinion)
  • The geek in me misses the SD card slot as it (the geek) would like to eventually stuff entire library of congress in the device but the rational part of me realizes that 1.4GB is quite enough given that device is almost always online.

These are just my first impressions. I’ll keep using Kindle 2 and will post on my impressions again in 2 weeks, than in 1 month, then in 3. Of course I’ll post about other related topics much more often… Stay tuned.

Touch screen Kindle could be on its way

PVI touch screen KindleHave you ever wished that you could use a stylus to write notes on a page or use your fingers to turn the virtual page on your Kindle? well your wish might be about to come true, the company which supplies Amazon with its Kindle EInk displays, PVI (Prime View International), has partnered with a company called F-Origin (of which it owns a 20 percent stake) to incorporate zTouch, a proprietary touch screen technology, into EInk display panels.

From the F-Origin press release:

The functionality and flexibility in design provided by zTouch is the perfect solution for ebooks and other products that utilize PVI’s ePaper displays. zTouch enables users to control book navigation and numerous management functions, such as turning pages, making selections or simply making edits or comments via touch and through gestures and hand writing recognition. The ease of use and high-functionality of zTouch are an ideal match for eBooks by PVI.

From the separate PVI press release:

When a user touches the display, proprietary software calculates the location and intensity of the touch with input from the sensors. There is no additional layer of materials on top of the display as there is in traditional touch technologies; as such, there is no impact to the reflective qualities of the display. This technology requires no ITO (the most fragile component in traditional touch panels), hence exhibits superior robustness. Unlike capacitive touch panels which requires the touch medium be conductive (such as a finger), this force sensing technology works with either stylus or fingers

You can read the full accompanying press release from PVI’s perspective on their website and you can read up on the zTouch 3.0 Technology [PDF warning] with this product information guide provided by F-Origin.

What does this mean? will the next Kindle offer a touch screen interface as standard? The Kindle isn’t mentioned by name by either PVI or F-Origin in the press releases, but its hard to see this technology not making it onto any future incarnation of the Kindle. These certainly are interesting developments and would strongly suggest that Amazon is working on a Kindle v2.

Source: Teleread