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 -
- Folders. Amazon are calling it Collections and it lets you organize your books into ‘collections’.
- More Fonts & Improved Clarity. Kindle 2.5 promises sharper fonts and also two new larger sizes.
- Password Protection. This protects your Kindle when you’re not using it.
- 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.
- 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 -
- Two larger font sizes make the Kindle great for low vision people.
- Students and people in academia might find that the PDF support now matches their needs better (keep what’s written above in mind).
- 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.
- Hopefully it sets off a features race between eReader companies. Folders and better PDF support is something Nook could use.
- 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 -
- Add a killer feature in Folders. It has been Kindle owners’ most requested feature and its importance is hard to overstate.
- Give the Kindle better PDF support than the Nook.
- Further add to the Kindle’s advantage over the Nook in font size.
- Perhaps let Kindle catch up to Nook in screen contrast.
- 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.