Three Kindle Improvements for Educators

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In a surprise update (a surprise to me, anyway), Amazon announced improvements to the firmware of the Kindle 2 yesterday. Thanks to Teleread, Len Edgerly, and the KnuckleHeadNetwork, I learned about the improvements in great detail.

For an educator, this upgrade is a win. First, the K2 will now support PDF files directly, without conversion. On top of that, Amazon is offering a PDF conversion via email that will make the text reflowable. Interested to hear what people who have tried that think.

Second, the battery life has been extended. Since the same battery is in the device, the software must manage the connection to the Whispernet better in some way. I have to say by manner of recantation that my whining about the departure of the exterior Whispernet switch in an earlier post was wrong. The battery management on my DX has only gotten better and better, and this update promises even more.

Finally, the firmware update apparently enables manual control of the page orientation on the K2, a must-have feature for the reading of PDFs and the viewing of images. Even with the zoom and the landscape orientation, the Kindle resolution still isn’t good enough for the detailed illustrations from, say, an AP Biology textbook. But it’s getting there…

I knew something was up when I got up this morning and saw Ralph Ellison staring at me from my sleeping Kindle DX. Just a little extra touch from the Kindle folks, and a nice one at that.

  3 comments for “Three Kindle Improvements for Educators

  1. December 22, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Just for the record … they did enable it later, after a conversation with tech support who contacted the Engineers and wrote up a ticket. Fast turnaround in this case.

  2. November 25, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Will,
    Both Len and I have tried the ‘Convert’ word in the Subject line of emails sending attached PDFs to our @kindle.com and @free.kindle.com addresses but we’ve received only non-converted PDF documents back.

    Same is true of a couple of people reporting back this morning on my blog post about that and with some Twitter posts. I think they didn’t enable that feature yet.

    – Andrys

  3. Batman Jr.
    November 25, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    With regard to the battery life improvement, I think the update applies only to the DX and Global Wireless, and not to the Kindle 1 or U.S. Wireless (i.e., Kindle 2).

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