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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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Kindle Touch Update 5.1 Adds Landscape Mode, Language Support, and Translation

The Kindle Touch has had its firmware updates in preparation for a multi-national release, it seems.  Version 5.1 actually brings us a number of useful features that users have been vocal about desiring for their eReaders.  While the removal of the physical keyboard may have opened the door for Kindle availability in languages besides English, this is probably the biggest step we have seen so far in terms of making that a reality.

Here’s what we’re looking at right now (Amazon Support Page):

  • Landscape Mode

It is finally possible to switch back and forth between portrait and landscape orientations on the Kindle Touch.  While this has long been an option for Kindles, for whatever reason it has taken until now for the Touch to get with the program.  Good news since there are situations where you can’t reasonably  do without it.

  • Added Language Support

Kindle users can now choose from English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese according to personal preference.

  • Instant Translation

While reading, you can now highlight a word or selection and have it translated for you on the spot.  Translations go through Bing Translator and are obviously going to be imperfect, but this is both fun and useful.  Unfortunately, it won’t work very well if you like to read with the WiFi turned off to improve battery life.

  • Improved WiFi

Connectivity has been improved and users have more options.  Connect with WPS and some WPA2 Enterprise setups.

  • Read-to-Me With Text-to-Speech

This one is restricted to English for the moment, but the Kindle Touch can now read to you, including some magazine and newspaper articles.  Perhaps more robust language support will come later?

  • Expanded Sharing

This will basically just tell people what you’re reading, should you feel like sharing.  It fills in a feature missing in comparison to Nook and Kobo options, but doesn’t excite.

  • Onscreen Keyboard Suggestions

Let’s face it, onscreen keyboards are annoying.  On the Kindle Touch it is even worse because of the refresh rate of E Ink.  Now typing is far more manageable.  Huge improvement!

  • Kindle Format 8

This one was pretty much just housekeeping for Amazon.  If you’re going to try and build a new standard, the least you can do is make sure that the latest generation of the device it is being designed for can handle it.  Might make periodicals more readable, but overall reflowable text is still the biggest advantage of an E Ink Kindle.

The Kindle Touch just plain works better now, really.  They added enough that there should be reason for users old and new to be excited here.  Landscape mode might have just been crossing an essential fix off the list, but things like keyboard suggestions and translation on demand change the experience for the better.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next generation of Kindle now that we have an idea what the innovation it brings to the table will be, but for now I may finally be recommending the Kindle Touch over the Kindle Keyboard for the first time.

iPhone Kindle Application Updated

Today Amazon has released 1.1 update for the iPhone Kindle Application. There are several new features and they are all good:

  • Landscape reading is now supported. All you need to do is tilt your iPhone. If you don’t want orientation to change automatically – just tap the lock icon in the corner and autorotate will be off.
Kindle iPhone Landscape Reading

Kindle iPhone Landscape Reading

  • 3 different color schemes are now supported to make reading on iPhone’s back-lit screen a bit easier on the eyes: original black-on-white, white-on-black and sepia that looks like an old book
Kindle For iPhone Color Schemes

Kindle For iPhone Color Schemes

  • Images can now be zoomed and panned using iPhone’s multi-touch interface.
Kindle For iPhone Image Zoom

Kindle For iPhone Image Zoom

  • Amazon has launched iPhone-optimized version of Kindle Store and integrated it into the app so now journey from Kindle for iPhone to Amazon.com and back again is comfortable and streamlined. It starts with pressing “Get Books” button in application home screen and ends back in the application with the book already downloaded. The only problem I noticed is that buttons on the website were very slow to respond to my taps. Could be just quirks of my particular iPhone or Internet connection.
iPhone Kindle Store

iPhone Kindle Store

It looks like Amazon is taking eBooks on iPhone market quite seriously. They are also trying to lock in as many customers as possible while there are still relatively few eBook readers on the market.

If you already have the app installed – you just need to update it via the app store, if you don’t – you can install it there for Free.

Of course same application would also run on iPod Touch.