Kindle for iOS, Android Updated With Support for Japanese & New Features

The Japanese Kindle Store is opening tomorrow, and since Amazon isn’t a company to do things at the last minute they rolled out a couple updates today to support their new customers.

Amazon has released new versions of both the Kindle for Android and Kindle for iOS apps. Both apps now support vertical text required for some Japanese ebooks, but each also got new abilities that the other did not.

You can also now email files to Amazon from inside other Android apps. For example, You could select a DOC file in ES File Explorer. When you press and hold on the file a menu should pop up with a number of options, including one which will let you email the DOC to Amazon so it can be converted.

Cool feature, but it’s balanced by the fact the file got huge (17MB). This feature also does not work for me on my Galaxy Tab (Android 2.3). The Kindle Android app now has improved support for the Nexus 7 as well as other tablets running Android 4.1.

The iOS app will likely never get similar email functions (Apple would never allow it), but today the app did get a useful ability as well as a couple prettifications.

Amazon added a new font choice, Caecilia, and you can also read the book in the publisher suggested font(s). Assuming the publisher is smart about their font choices, this should add to the reading experience.

But the more important feature for the iPad app is the new X-Ray for textbooks. Do you like how you can look up a character’s background in a Kindle novel? Now you will be able to do the same with textbooks. X-Ray for textbooks gives you instant access to the most important terms and concepts in a book, including glossary definitions, links to relevant textbook pages, and related content from Wikipedia and YouTube.

This feature seems to only be available for the Kindle Print Ready textbooks. KPR is Amazon’s PDF format, and it’s a nod to the fact that page shaped slivers of content still works for some material.

And even in a limited form, X-Ray for textbooks is bound to be useful to students. I’ve played with similar features in the Kno and Inkling iPad apps. This does add useful information which students often need.

iTunes

Google Play

Via The Digital Reader

亚马逊下月进军日本市场 推日文版Kindle

北京时间10月24日晚间消息,亚马逊下个月将在日本推出日文版Kindle电子书阅读器和平板电脑。当前,日本是全球第二大出版市场。

从本周三开始,亚马逊开始接受日文版Kindle Paperwhite电子书阅读器和Kindle Fire平板电脑的预订。前者售价为8480日元(约为110美元),后者售价12800日元(约为160美元)。这两款设备将于11月19日正式公布发售。

亚马逊还表示,从10月25日开始,还将在其日本网站销售Kindle电子书,有超过50000本日文图书可供用户选择,其中包括来自当地出版商Kodansha和Kadokawa的图书。

此举意味着亚马逊将在日本市场向当地竞争对手乐天(Rakuten)、索尼、苹果和谷歌发起挑战。今年7月,乐天推出了Kobo电子书阅读器。(李明)

Via 新浪科技

Amazon directly addresses problems with new Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite in the dark

Consumers have logged many complaints about spotty screen illumination, lack of storage, and missing speech-to-text on the Paperwhite. Amazon has decided to address the naysayers directly.

Amazon decided to be refreshingly upfront when faced with a growing number of complaints pertaining to the new Kindle Paperwhite. As you may know, the Paperwhite is the first Kindle to have a self-illuminating screen that lets you read in the dark without a separate accessory.

However, as more and more people begin to use the new device, complaints have been turning up in Amazon forums, specifically targeting the uneven lighting provided by the device under certain conditions.

A quick Google search of “Kindle Paperwhite problems” turns up a wide range of screen issues:

“Noticed the screen had ‘light spots’ all over the display, think looking at the night sky and seeing the stars.”

“I have a bright spot on mine too, as well as annoying screen blotches. I’m sending it back for a refund instead of getting on the replacement merry-go-round.”

“This is my first kindle and so far I’m disappointed. The dark spots are bothersome and I don’t like how blue the ‘white’ is.”

But rather than ignore the public’s complaints, Amazon decided to address the issues head-on through a public statement. The online retailer acknowledged the Paperwhite can produce uneven illumination when used improperly in particular lighting conditions. However, Amazon defended themselves, saying the unevenness only affected a small portion of the screen that didn’t hold text anyway. Amazon also included examples of how the screen should look in various lighting scenarios and offered advice for optimal settings.

Other users found issue with the 2GB of storage available on the Paperwhite, a 50 percent reduction when compared to previous models that shipped with 4GB. Amazon claims the 2GB of storage is enough to hold 1,100 books in your local library, pointing out that additional books are stored in the cloud for free.

And when faced with complaints about the lack of audio and speech-to-text available on the Paperwhite, Amazon said it was omitted to make the device thinner and lighter. It was also quick to bring attention to the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD‘s support of both features.

Whether the Paperwhite’s issues stem from the limits of its technology or oversights by the company, we respect that Amazon has acknowledged the shortcomings of its newest device. You can read the full statement below:

Kindle Paperwhite is the best Kindle we’ve ever made by far, but there are certain limitations and changes from prior generations that we want you to know about. Kindle Paperwhite does not have audio or Text-to-Speech. This makes the device smaller and lighter than it would otherwise be. Audio and an improved Text-to-Speech engine are supported on Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.

Under certain lighting conditions, the illumination at the bottom of the screen from the built-in light is not perfectly even. See examples of how the screen looks in different lighting conditions. These variations are normal and are located primarily in the margin where text is not present. The illumination is more even than that created by a book light or lighted cover. The contrast, resolution and illumination of the Paperwhite display is a significant step-up from our prior generation.

The Kindle Paperwhite has 2 GB of storage. Some previous Kindle models had 4GB of storage. 2GB allows you to hold up to 1,100 books locally on your device. In addition, your entire Kindle library is stored for free in the Amazon cloud, and you can easily move books from the cloud onto your device.

Do you have a Kindle Paperwhite? Have you had any issues with it or is it performing as expected?

via DigitalTrends