Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kindle 2 gets native PDF Reader & Longer Battery Life


Today Amazon announced a nice little software update for all Kindle (Global Wireless), Kindle (U.S. Wireless), and Kindle DX devices.  Amazon says with today’s software/firmware update, they have improved the battery life of the Kindle and added a native PDF reader.

As we near the arrival of the new Nook, Barnes & Noble eReader I imagine these steps are being taken to help sway those thinking about purchasing an eBook reader to go with the Kindle.  And it might just work especially since the Nook and the Sony readers will be difficult if not impossible to come by for Christmas purchases.

Kindle Global and U.S. Wireless (formerly known as the Kindle 2) Updates:

  • Native PDF reader – yep, Amazon finally put native support for PDF document reading!  You can send PDF documents directly to your Kindle (via your @Kindle address) or drag and drop PDF files from your computer to your Kindle (when connected via USB).  All I can say is “it’s about time!”
  • Longer battery life for Kindle (Global Wireless):  Looks like this will only affect the new Global Wireless version of the Kindle, but for those they report read-time up to 1 week on a single charge with wireless on or up to 2 weeks with wireless off.
  • Manual screen rotation: The Kindle screen can now manually rotate between portrait and landscape views so you can see the entire width of a web page or magnify the page of a PDF file. The page-turn buttons work the same in either orientation, and the 5-way controller movements are switched to match the orientation.
  • Option to convert PDF files to Kindle format. If you prefer to have your personal PDF documents converted to the Kindle format (so that they can reflow), you can type "Convert" in the subject of the e-mail when you submit your personal document to your @kindle.com address.

Kindle DX Updates:

  • Better cropping of PDF files: In landscape orientation, white margins of PDF documents are automatically cropped to maximize the amount of content shown on the screen.
  • Option to convert PDF files to Kindle format. Same as for the regular Kindle.
  • View pages longer: Amazon has extended the time before Kindle DX switches into screensaver mode — from 5 minutes to 20 minutes.

One word of warning – several reports are coming out saying that this latest firmware will lock down your ability to perform homebrew software updates.  Not many people were doing homebrew, but I know there are a few.

If you’re interested in the Kindle, be sure and read the reviews we did at GeekTonic from a geek’s perspective and one by my wife from a hard-core reader’s perspective.


Read the complete announcement at Amazon.com