Some Kindle 2.3 Changes you may have missed

Posted on November 25, 2009

New Kindle 2.3I was finally able to manually download my kindle 2.3 software update yesterday and am happy to say the upgrade went smoothly. Amazon was kind enough to give us easy to follow instructions on how to do this.

After playing around with my Kindle 2, I did notice some different things that I noticed were there before. I didn't read the updated 4th edition of the User's Guide so these observations may or may not be documented.

Screensaver Updates

I noticed two new screens in the screensaver. The first one was the new Kindle Logo of the person reading under the tree. The second one is the addition of the late author, Ralph Ellison. I am almost positive that he was not in the screensaver prior to this update.

Text Key

Kindle 2 Text Menu Options

Kindle 2 Text Menu Options

One "big news" feature is that you can use use your Kindle 2 in Landscape mode (similar to the DX). The manual rotation control allow you to rotate the screen in four positions is accessed under the Text [Aa] button. Although, I can't reason for the life of me understand why anyone would want to use the kindle upside down.

The less obvious change is this other new option "Words per Line". At first glance I thought it was line spacing feature (which does exist but only through shortcuts) but I quickly realized that all this feature does is push in the page margins to squeeze the paragraphs, thus putting less words per line. I really didn't find this feature of much use but obviously someone thought it was a good idea.

PDF Support

PDF Listings in Kindle

PDF Listings in Kindle

I really love the fact that Amazon listened to its customers and now includes direct PDF support in the Kindle 2. A lot of my reading material is in the form of PDFs so this will definitely make my life easier. A couple of items to note when using PDFs on the Kindle 2.

  • There is a nifty little PDF icon that displays next to the document name designating it as a PDF file. The only way to view PDF files prior to this update on your Kindle 2 was emailing them to your special kindle email account for conversion which would keep the PDF extension included in the file name.
  • Some PDFs may include advanced objects that are not supported in the Kindle Viewer. I noticed a small warning at the bottom of my screen stating that certain objects in my PDF were not supported and would not display. This wasn't a huge problem for me since the document still looked correct with the exception of these items which showed up blank.
  • Password Protected PDFs are not supported with this version of the Kindle Software. I don't have many documents that are password protected but it would be nice if they did support it. This would be especially useful for people who carry sensitive documents with them and still want to protect the information in case the Kindle is lost or stolen.
  • Viewing the PDF document on the Kindle 2's 6 inch screen can be challenging if the original text in the document was smaller. You still have the ability to view the PDF in landscape mode but it will take 3 [Next Page] clicks to get view all of the content and get to the next page. Now I know why the Kindle DX is better equipped to view PDF documents.

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