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.