Kindle 2.5 in May – Kindle Folders, New Sharper Fonts, PDF Zoom

Amazon released Kindle 2.5 upgrade tonight to a limited group of users - remaining Kindle 2 owners will get it in late May 2010.

This is a pretty good response to the new Nook upgrade which added a browser and lots of other features. The Kindle 2.5 software upgrade will include -

  1. Folders. Amazon are calling it Collections and it lets you organize your books into ‘collections’.
  2. More Fonts & Improved Clarity. Kindle 2.5 promises sharper fonts and also two new larger sizes.
  3. Password Protection. This protects your Kindle when you’re not using it.
  4. PDF Pan and Zoom. This lets you zoom into PDFs that have smaller font sizes and also look at the details in images and tables.
  5. Social Features - Share book snippets with friends via Facebook and Twitter. See what are the most popular book passages as highlighted by Kindle owners.

My Kindle doesn’t seem to be included in the Kindle 2.5 test – If yours is please do let us know what the Kindle 2.5 upgrade is like especially Folders and the new Fonts.

Why is Amazon announcing Kindle 2.5 a month early?

Obviously because of the Nook.

The Press have really gone overboard with the ‘Nook might have sold more than Kindle in March’ and ‘Nook now has a Browser’ love-fest (the Press love it so much you’d think Nook was an Apple product). Also, the browser really is a good addition and it puts the Kindle and Nook in a near-tie. Actually wrote a new Kindle vs Nook review for 2010 because the nook’s new browser is a killer feature.

There’s probably also a lot of intent to satisfy customers. Folders, larger fonts, and better PDF support are among the Top 10 features requested by users – Folders is probably #1.

Finally, there’s the pretend-reader which threatens to steal away book readers and might get them to stop reading books entirely.

Kindle 2.5 – Who Benefits the Most?

Actually, existing Kindle owners. It’s a very good update -

  • Folders help us organize things better. 
  • Better PDF support makes it more usable. The small screen is still a limiting factor. Zooming and Panning works around the problem – However, there is no solution to having a 6″ screen and A4 size PDFs.
  • The addition of fonts might be crucial. The sharper fonts will make eInk even better for reading. 
  • Password protection is a nice feature to have. What happens if you forget? Perhaps you can change it at Amazon.com.
  • The social features let us share passages and what we’re reading easily (and hopefully for free).

The Kindle 2.5 upgrade makes the Kindle 2 noticeably better.

It also helps prospective eReader owners -

  1. Two larger font sizes make the Kindle great for low vision people.
  2. Students and people in academia might find that the PDF support now matches their needs better (keep what’s written above in mind). 
  3. If you’re the sharing is caring type you’ll probably love that you can now share passages from books you’re reading with your friends.  
  4. Hopefully it sets off a features race between eReader companies. Folders and better PDF support is something Nook could use.
  5. For some people having a password to prevent indiscriminate book purchases is huge.

Finally, it helps books and reading. The addition of the social features gets more people to notice books and lets Kindle owners share their likes and dislikes (via highlighting).

Kindle 2.5 – Is Kindle the clear #1 choice in eReaders again?

By adding Folders and larger fonts and password protection and improving its PDF capabilities the Kindle will return to being the #1 eReader.

Not changing my Kindle, Nook are almost in a tie conclusion yet because the Kindle 2.5 update only comes out in May. However, that Kindle upgrade will do the following -

  1. Add a killer feature in Folders. It has been Kindle owners’ most requested feature and its importance is hard to overstate. 
  2. Give the Kindle better PDF support than the Nook. 
  3. Further add to the Kindle’s advantage over the Nook in font size.
  4. Perhaps let Kindle catch up to Nook in screen contrast.
  5. Give the Kindle some social features that together with the Browser narrow the gap between Kindle and Nook browsers. The Nook’s browser is still much better. The Kindle’s 3G is an advantage over WiFi browsing in terms of accessibility from almost anywhere. Browsing over WiFi is much faster than over 3G so Nook has that advantage.

If Nook doesn’t make a move it loses out.

Amazon always seem to have a hidden store of Kindle features that they unleash whenever a competitor releases a dangerous new product or update. It’s fascinating to note the contrast - the iPad announcement led to a better rate for authors (70%) and Amazon having to give in to higher ebook prices; the Nook upgrade led to Kindle Folders and so many valuable features.

Kindle 2.5 is a very significant upgrade and is likely to give the Kindle 2 back its position as the undisputed #1 eReader.

36 Responses

  1. Oh how I wish they would provide an upgrade for Kindle 1 that would at least include folders! I know there are a lot of us out here just wishing we could sort our books!!! My Kindle1 is perfectly good otherwise!

    Will they possibly add folders to Kindle for PC or Kindle for iPhone? (I have both, also).

  2. Darn, I looked, but alas I wasn not one of the chosen few… UGH.. looks like we’ll just have to wait a month!
    Folders will BE AWESOME ! ! ! ! !

  3. Does the PDF Support in this 2.5 upgrade include a PDF converter (which the Kindle 2 lacks)?

  4. My inner auditor just stuck out its hand and said “what about 2.4?”

  5. if this software update isnt also applied to the kindle 1, i think im going to abandon the kindle platform. there is NO reason not to provide many of the basic functionality enhancements like folders for the original kindle, except to try to push people to buy a kindle 2… which, for me, ISNT going to happen. i dont consider buying an inferior piece of hardware an “upgrade”…

  6. Id like some sort of update for Kindle1 as well. If nothing more than folders. I far prefer my kindle 1 to the newer models, as I was one of the few who liked the large buttons on the side and never had any problem working with them. Of course, im entering this message from my iPad, so what do I know? :)

  7. The folders feature (called Collections) is excellent and VERY easy to use. From the Home screen you click Menu, then select Add a Collection. You name it and it goes on the Home Page. Then, any books you want to add to it is simple- highlight the book, right click, it will give you a choice to add to a Collection, select it and press. Done!

    This is so easy, why did it take 2 1/2 years. Anyway, WAY TO GO, Amazon!

    • Thanks for the details Richard.

    • Thanks Richard, but what’s a right click?

    • Three quick questions:

      1.) Can you create subfolders? For instance, if you have a collection labled “nonfiction” could you create within that subfolders for “history,” “science,” etc. Are you you limited to one tier heirarchy?

      2.) Is moving a book to a folder permanent, or can you go back and undo or move it to a different collection in the future?

      3.) If you move the defaut dictionary into a folder, does that create an error if you try to try get the definition of words while reading other books? For example, let’s say I create a “reference” folder and move the default dictionary there. Later I’m reading a book by Wiliam Faulkner and come across an unfamiliar word. I move the cursor to the word so that the definition will pop up at the bottom. But instead of it poping up, I get an error message that says something like “path not found” because the Kindle doesn’t know to look for the dictionary within a collection?

      Thanks.

      • Update: My mistake. Didn’t realize it was for Richard. Letting him answer the questions.

        1. Not sure as I haven’t gotten the 2.5 build yet. From what people are writing it seems sub-folder aren’t supported. Books can be in more than one collection.

        2. Books being added to a collection isn’t permanent. You can change it and you can assign a book to more than one collection. Actually, it’s almost like you’re adding pointers to books in a collection and not moving any books (at least that’s my understanding).

        3. Not sure on the dictionary part. If my guess that it’s pointers to books that go into a collection is right then there would be no error.

  8. Adding my voice to the chorus of 1st gen Kindle owners wishing we could get some upgrade love, too.

    I get that the device is “older” and therefore may not be able to support all of the new features. But Amazon was still selling Kindle 1s last year! It’s not like it’s decades-old technology.

    C’mon… at least give us folders! Sigh.

  9. Is there anyone out there who got the upgrade (Richard?) who could provide some pictures or video? I would love to see what the collections look like on the screen. Thanks.

  10. The issue of automatic firmware updates raises a question: do most people leave the wireless on at all times?

    If you subscribe to a periodical (a columnist, newspaper, magazine, blog, etc.), I certainly understand why you would leave the wireless on all the time.

    But if you are just reading books, what is the point of having the wireless on constantly? You’re just using up the battery. (Plus, you have all that radiation from the wireless. I know the experts tell us it’s safe, but why subject yourself to more than necessary if you don’t have to.)

    I keep my Kindle wireless turned off by default. The only time I turn it on is when I want to buy and download a book from amazon. I don’t miss any firmware updates because I subscribe to this site — so I’m notifed when one is coming and can manually downloaded from Amazon.

  11. On the off chance that the Kindle 1 product manager runs across this… I want to echo the other comments on this thread. The ability to group content (books, music) into folders would go a *long way* toward alleviating my desire for, well, any other (competing) device.

    I just cant believe it would be hard to implement (given that the device can already group by active/archive content), and, Amazon would build some goodwill in the process.

    • Perhaps Amazon is intentionally not updating the Kindle 1 because they want to encourage people to upgrade to the Kindle 2. They are in business to make money, after all.

      • There is a 1.2 software update for Kindle 1 but I’m not sure if that’s a new or old one… there was mention of how to do it on the Kindle 2.5 update info page at amazon.com… at the bottom of the centre column in the following link…

        Kindle 2.5 Update Page

        … apparently the whole interface and environment is so different on the Kindle 1 that Amazon don’t think its worth investing the money to improve it very much given that its now a pretty much obsolete model (although still brilliant, of course)

      • Thanks Drew for that information re Kindle 1 update. I have it already and I think I remember getting it; although I cannot tell you what it improved at the time. :-p Anyway, if I don’t get folders for my Kindle 1, I seriously doubt I’ll be upgrading since I can read either on my iPhone or computer… I read 2 books this past week on my iPhone and it worked fine for me except it ran down my phone’s battery charge and I had to use my backup battery pack. Just folders is all I am asking for…please…..

  12. Has anyone besides the those in the initial test batch gotten the update? Amazon said it would be out in “late May.” We now have only three days left, and unless Amazon employees will be working over the holiday weekend, I don’t see us getting it before June.

    I went to Amazon Kindle software page to see if it’s available for manual download, but it’s not yet.

    • Same here. Think they found a couple issues and decided to make sure things were fixed before pushing it out. Sending it out this weekend is almost certainly out of the question.

  13. I keep hearing “new fonts”… but only the mentioning of the larger sizes and sharper fonts… are they actually going to be “new” font styles or just font “tweaks” ? It’s now the 1st June and I have got my update yet ;-(

    Really hanging out for it

    • haven’t got my update yet was what I meant to say

    • yeah – that’s pretty confusing. Lots of people say new fonts but the only changes in Help Pages talk about 2 new font sizes. People have mentioned sharper fonts. Will have to see what they mean.

  14. I look forward to receiving my upgrade but am really hoping that the competition will force the ability to GIVE or LEND books to friends. I know you can do it for 14 days with the Nook but that’s not enough time for those of us who don’t have time to read that much. Hoping for the Kindle to get on this quick. If not, when someone comes out with great features all around for someone who loves libraries and loves to share books – I will be sure to buy that and pass my Kindle on to my husband!

  15. I just got the update!

    I also noticed a new feature. When you highlight a titel in the main menu, the subtitile now appears below it (if if has a subtitle).

    Will send more info as I play around with it.

  16. I signed on this moring expecting to see more posts of people who got the update. I’m surprised that no one else has responded.

    My intent in posting the message wasn’t to gloat. It was to advise everyone to turn on their wireless because it looks like a new wave of updates is coming.

    I posted a similar message on the Amazon discussion board. A few people responded that they got the update last night, but many more people complained that they are still waiting.

    • Think it’s going out in waves. After the number of posts yesterday late night really thought it was going out to everyone. Apparently it isn’t.

  17. FYI, the update that I recieved and is in the process of being pushed is 2.5.2 , which I assume fixes some of the bugs in the 2.5 version they pushed to selected people last month.

  18. Still wish Kindle 1 would at least get folders. Grrrr….

    • Joe,
      I AGREE — I only only only am asking for folders on my Kindle 1. Who can we contact? (Does Amazon read this blog regularly?) Everyone one who bought their Kindle after Oprah said it was her favorite thing bought the Kindle 1 –so if you add all of us who bought it before, there are a whole lot of us out here with the 1st edition!!

  19. After the upgrade I find I have to retrain my fingers. The “next page” button now turns the page when pressed instead of when I let it go. It is the difference between mouse down versus mouse up on the computer. I don’t think that was a good change if intentional

  20. how does tables from pdfs look like on the kindle are they jumbled or normal

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