Kindle 3 – Kindle 3 Insights

It’s clear that the Kindle 3 still has some tricks up its sleeve – We now know there’s a Kindle 3 microphone and that the Kindle 3 supports CJK and Cyrillic fonts. 

Let’s go through these and other Kindle 3 Insights from the official kindle forum, Kindle 3 help pages, and the Kindle 3 User Guide. Instead of taking 5 hours to read through all of those get all the top Kindle 3 insights from this post in 15 minutes.

Kindle 3 – Top 22 Kindle 3 Insights

Here are the things about the Kindle 3 that really stood out -

  1. There’s a microphone on the Kindle 3 that’s currently not being used. It could be used down the line for speech to text, voice commands, and hands free reading. Here’s a full post on Kindle 3 speech to text and other microphone possibilities.
  2. Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi support CJK fonts and Cyrillic fonts. It means that Amazon is getting ready to make a big push in non-English languages.
  3. There’s now an Audible section in the Kindle Store. Audible audiobooks can only be downloaded when you’re using WiFi – else you can download to your PC and transfer to Kindle.
  4. Connecting to WiFi – On Home press Menu and choose Settings. Select ‘View’ next to ‘WiFi Settings’ and you get a list of detected WiFi networks. You can connect to one of these networks, rescan, or enter another WiFi network to connect to. For the last option you can also choose ‘set up network’ from the ‘failed to connect’ message dialog and enter network information.
  5. When entering network information you can choose DHCP or Static connections (for Static connections you need to enter IP Address, Subnet Mask, Router, and DNS). You also choose from WEP, WPA, WPA2, and None for security type. Then enter the network password.
  6. With WiFi you get – faster downloads, free delivery of personal documents, delivery of Audible audiobook purchases. US customers get free downloads of books, periodicals, and personal documents outside the US if they connect via WiFi.
  7. Pressing Alt + any character in the top row gives you a number (Alt+Q = 1 and so on). Numbers are also accessible via the SYM key. Removing the numbers row is a terrible decision.
  8. Auto-disappearing Top Bar. When you open a book there will be a bar at the top with Book Title, network type, whispernet status, and battery status. As soon as you move to the next or previous page the Bar disappears. Press Menu to get it back temporarily (until you press Menu again and it disappears).
  9. The speakers are now on the top left and the top right of the back of your Kindle 3.
  10. The back is now texturized rubber for a better grip.
  11. There’s a new WiFi symbol to indicate when your Kindle 3 is connected to WhisperNet using WiFi. You have to press the Menu button to see type of connection.
  12. There’s a ‘View Downloading Items’ option in the Menu of your Kindle 3 Home Page that will display what items are being downloaded and their download progress. This is pretty cool.
  13. Kindle 3 automatically turns 3G off if you connect using WiFi. If you disconnect or move out of range the 3G is automatically switched on. It’s a little strange that the only way to disable 3G is to turn WhisperNet off.
  14. The Kindle 3 guide talks about an easy way to add multiple items to a Collection. Navigate to a collection, press right to see the options, and choose ‘Add/Remove Items’. You then get a list of all items on your Kindle and can add whatever items you want to the Collection. Items added to the Collection have a checkmark next to them.
  15. You can adjust contrast in PDFs – The options are lightest, lighter, default, darker, and darkest. This is an interesting addition. See the shortcuts section below for how to ‘nudge’ the chosen view when you are zoomed.
  16. Password protected PDFs are now supported. For PDFs white margins of PDFs are automatically cropped – perhaps this was present in Kindle 2.5.
  17. To convert PDF files use the conversion service and include the word ‘convert’ in your email subject line. After conversion you can use Text to Speech with converted PDFs (which are no longer PDFs).
  18. The Kindle 3 Experimental Web Browser supports JavaScript, SSL, and cookies but not Flash or Java Applets. In the guide it shows the Kindle 3 browser displaying ESPN’s home page and Amazon’s home page perfectly. That would be impressive it if works – find it hard to believe.
  19. There’s a new Article Mode in Kindle 3’s web browser – Article Mode shows only the main text on a webpage.
  20. The browser lets you download Kindle format files (.azw, .azw1), unprotected Mobipocket files (.mobi, .prc), and text files.
  21. There’s an option on the Settings Page to set your Kindle’s time. There’s also an option on the Settings Page to turn on the Voice Guide (accessible menus).
  22. Finally, there’s a menu option on the Settings page to ‘Change Primary Dictionary’. Think this is available on Kindle 2.5 too.

That’s quite a few Kindle 3 insights that haven’t been discussed so far.

One useful tip is to name your Kindle 3 something that includes your contact email or phone number. That way, if it gets lost, whoever finds your Kindle 3 will know how to contact you. Thanks to someone at the official kindle forum for this brilliant idea.

It’s quite amusing to see that 75% of the Troubleshooting Questions have the same simple solution – Restart your Kindle 3. Try Again.

Kindle Customer Support

Here are the Kindle 3 support numbers -

For U.S. and other countries, Kindle Support can be reached via -

E-mail at kindle-cs-support@amazon.com.
Phone at 1-206-266-0927 (charges will apply).

U.S. customers can reach Kindle Support by phone at 1-866-321-8851 (toll free).

U.K. customers can contact Kindle Support at kindle-support-uk@amazon.co.uk or by phone at: 0800-496-2449 (toll free) or outside the U.K.: +44 (0)800-496-2449 (charges will apply).

Kindle 3 – Shortcuts

These are the shortcuts listed for the Kindle 3. There may be some overlap with the other two sections -

  1. Alt+Top Row of Alphabets to get numbers. 
  2. In most books – Press left or right on 5-way to go to the beginning of the next or previous chapter. This is an interesting one.
  3. Alt+Del to delete everything you’ve typed.  
  4. On Home Page if books are sorted by Title or Author – Press a letter key and then the 5-way to go to the first item starting with that letter. 
  5. Add/remove bookmark – Alt+B. Also, you can press the 5-way twice to bookmark a page.
  6. Press Alt+Enter on a note or highlight to share it via Facebook or Twitter.
  7. PDFs – Nudge the chosen view area by pressing down Shift (Up Arrow key) and then using 5-way controller. Nudge = Pan in small increments.
  8. Shift + SYM to start Text to Speech and Spacebar to pause/resume. Note: You can put your Kindle to sleep when using Text to Speech and it keeps working.
  9. Alt+Spacebar to stop or play music. Alt+F to skip to next track.

Have left out some of the very obvious ones carried over from Kindle 2.

Kindle 3 – Additional Kindle 3 Insights

Here are some more interesting Kindle 3 facts -

  1. Progress Bar now shows you the location at which you started current reading session and the location of various notes and bookmarks.
  2. Kindle WiFi uses 802.11 b and 802.11 g. It automatically remembers and connects to hotspots you have used in the past. It doesn’t connect to enterprise or ad-hoc networks.
  3. There’s something new called International Subscription Service for delivery of periodicals when you are outside the US.
  4. The Volume Control and Power Switch have been moved to the bottom of the Kindle 3. There’s also the headphone jack, a microphone, and a micro-USB power port.
  5. This cryptic phrase – All latest generation Kindle devices have Wi-Fi connectivity built-in. Really? Guess they meant all except the Kindle DX 2.
  6. There are 3 font types – regular, condensed, and sans-serif.  
  7. There are now Line Spacing options – Small, Medium, and Large. No idea if Alt+Shift+Number still works – Well, that’s probably impossible now.
  8. There are now two Kindle 3 dictionaries – The New Oxford American Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary of English. Guess this is done for the Kindle UK push.
  9. With the Kindle 3 you have to slide and hold the power switch for 7 seconds to turn it off. It’s a bit much. Resetting now requires sliding and holding the switch for 15 seconds.
  10. The charge indicator light is now around/under the power switch.  
  11. To check whether you have Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 3G+WiFi – On the Home Page press Menu, then choose Settings, and on the Settings Page look under Device Info at the ‘Network Capability’ line.
  12. Apparently, annotations created for any personal documents, blog items, or subscription items older than 7 days are not saved when they are deleted. They will be in the My Clippings File. However, if you re-load the deleted item the annotations won’t be there. Not sure if it was always this way or whether this is a Kindle 3 change.
  13. The music player is still strange – ‘songs will be played in the order they were added to your kindle’ and there’s still no ‘previous track’ button.
  14. To Turn Off the Popular Highlights Feature – On the Home screen press Menu, then choose Settings, and then on the Settings Page click on ‘turn off’ next to Popular Highlights.
  15. When on a Popular Highlight press Enter to show or hide the number of people who highlighted this particular passage.
  16. It was interesting to find out that you can view a list of Popular Highlights for a book and sort them by popularity.
  17. There’s experimental .docx conversion through Amazon’s document conversion service. Zip files sent to Amazon are automatically opened up and any convertible files are converted. 

You can check for additional Kindle 3 tips and insights at the Kindle 3 Help Pages.

20 Responses

  1. On Amazon Kindle’s Facebook page there is a link to a BBC blog post about Kindle (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/2010/07/ebooks_amazon_bites_back.html)

    While the text itself is relatively uninteresting (the usual “it seems iPad hasn’t killed Kindle but we can’t be sure yet” stuff), the comments may be interesting to read. There’s quite a lot of them and the overall tone is quite different than on US blogs. People seem much more skeptical about ebooks in general and voicing some relatively exotic concerns such as risk to one’s life in case of dropping an ereader into bathtub, not being able to display pictures in ebooks, failing to see the benefit thereof with public libraries available, thinking ebooks are in general more expensive than regular ones etc. My favorite comment was a list of complaints about ereaders including not being able to jot notes on the side, not being able to carry it in one’s pocket, risking a lot of money in case of losing one AND not being able to watch videos and similar on them.

    It’s almost as if about 30-40% of the people that commented don’t grasp the very basics of the ebook phenomenon, much less actual ereaders capabilities (although the same are printed in huge letters on the Kindle website). Also it’s interesting many ereader owners reported owning Sony Reader, no one mentioned a Nook and only a handful actually owning a Kindle.

  2. I’m wondering when the Kindle DX will get the same hardware/software upgrades of Kindle 3 Graphite. Most importantly, WiFi, the additional microphone, CJK font, PDF contrast and other software enhancements.

    I’m interested in getting the DX Graphite, but don’t wish to lose all these features that Kindle 3 now has.

    BTW, what is the firmware version of the Kindle 3 (WiFi plus 3G and WiFi only)?

    • Didn’t check the firmware version so don’t have an idea.
      The Amazon Team just said ‘can’t comment/stay tuned’ for when the software for DX 2 and Kindle 2 would be upgraded to the one in Kindle 3.
      The WiFi and microphone would require hardware changes so have to imagine that would be in DX 3 and Kindle 4.

  3. @sukjuk

    As a UK Kindle owner (from day one of the iK launch) this does not surprise me. You guys are 2 to 3 years ahead of the eReader curve. Few people here have ever seen an eInk screen and although it now features prominently on the amazon.co.uk page, the device has not really been pushed strongly in the UK to-date. I believe that we are where you were at the very beginning (circa Nov 97). The US has primed the pump and perhaps now that there will be a ‘native’ UK store and a real eReader push in this part of the world, maybe in 3 years time, we’ll only be 2 years behind.

    I do know that since receiving mine, I have shown it to hundreds of people. The reaction starts out with the predictable nonsense about the smell of glue (WTF?) etc, but most readers change their mind on seeing the screen. Not everyone is instantly converted but about 60% are and many of the others tone down their preconceived objections.

    An unknown factor that will determine the growth rate here is how the traditional media reports the revolution. They still have the power to shape people’s views, but once there are enough devices in the wild, I doubt the Brits will be any different from Americans when it comes to the light-bulb moment – the sudden realisation that we could never smell the glue anyway and were talking utter nonsense.

    The K3 price-point looks good (even in pounds) and most of the disadvantages of buying through the US store will soon be gone. Everything that switch21 is talking about here seems to indicate that Amazon is about to push the Kndle hard outside the US. I wish them luck and hope that the competition stays strong enough to keep them sharp. At the moment, the world is up for grabs.

  4. Thanks for the info Paul. This sounds very logical and understandable. Indeed the media have a rather nasty power to shape public views as was evident in strong anti-Kindle propaganda from most of the mainstream media in the US after Kindle 2 debut and especially after iPad was released. Abhi aka switch11 has analysed this phenomenon extensively.

    Personally I’m an early Kindle adopter from Croatia which is probably even further behind the latest ebook developments than UK or similar. I’ve also read a post on this blog from a Japanese person, just before Kindle 3 with Japanese (among others) font support was announced, saying that a huge market is there up for grabs but totally Kindle oblivious, largely due to the fact it hadn’t had their font support up to that point.

    However, Amazon seems to be the only American company in this business that actually seems to expand internationally (along with Sony Reader on a much more limited bases). Even in my obscure part of Europe I’m able to access nearly half a million Amazon ebook titles on top of any public domain ones and use the free Internet – basically I have about 80+% of the features available to US citizens. I suspect that hiring local marketing companies in countries where Kindle is shipping would make the demand for Kindle ereaders much higher, as well as ebooks in general – which will benefit everyone (well almost everyone, hello publishers) in the long run.

  5. Is there a K3 versus iPad review? Thanks.

    • eorse, let me know your questions. I might write a full review later. It’s just tougher. I did take down notes and added 3-4 pages of notes after the meeting. However, 1 hour with the Kindle 3 was barely enough to dive in.

  6. I’m confused about the wi-fi implementation, specifically your statement that:

    With WiFi you get [...] free delivery of personal documents

    What does this mean?

    Let’s assume that you have a Kindle 3 (3G). Right now (for my K2), I have two addresses. If I send it to my @kindle.com address, the document is sent to my Kindle wirelessly, and I have to pay amazon a small amount for the bandwidth. If I send it to my @free.kindle.com address, I get a link in my email to the document which I can download on my computer and drag over to the kindle using my usb cable.

    Does the K3 support a third email address (@wifi.kindle.com?) that will automatically download the document, but only if your connected via wi-fi? Or is is just the luck of the draw as to whether you get the free download or not. If you send it to @kindle.com and you’re connected via wifi, it shows up free? Otherwise you’ve got to pay?

    What’s the story?

    • Not sure. The guide doesn’t specify it. It does talk about setting up an International Subscription Service for periodicals – perhaps personal documents are related to that.

      Another way to do it would be to have the WiFi override your personal spending limit for wireless downloads.

      It’s almost certainly something specific in the WiFi synchronization code.

      Note: By the way, that part puzzled me a lot too. Thought about it at the time and couldn’t figure out how it would work. It’s a different thing when you have an app on the Kindle asking for data. If the data is coming in then they’d have to have some logic on the sending part to check. So perhaps when a Kindle logs-in to WhisperNet there’s a flag that says it’s via WiFi and downloads can be sent to it now.
      There must be – because Audible audiobooks are downloaded via WiFi – so they must have some way of knowing type of connection and an on-off switch for sending you your downloads based on it being WiFi or not.

  7. Re: Highlight #10..

    My wife and I were in a Barnes & Noble, and I was talking to their Nook person. While there, my wife picked up one of the Nook demo models, and was immediately in love with the feel of the back. She said it was way better than my Kindle 1 model (which has been sold, I’m now Kindle-less until v3 arrives). So I’m wondering, how does the new back on Kindle 3 compare to the Nook back in terms of feel/texture/etc?

    • On a side note. I currently own Kindle 2 and have been using Gelaskins back cover since its aluminum finish makes it a bit slippery. Kindle 3 reportedly has a more rubbery feel to its back but I’d probably go with the same kind of cover again (when it’s available that is).

      Those covers are available in dozens of designs and cover front and/or back. They provide a smooth, slightly rubbery feel with great artwork. Kindle 3 covers are not yet available but i suppose they will be very soon.

      http://www.gelaskins.com/store/skins/ipad_and_ereaders/Kindle_2

    • It’s really hard to say – the Kindle 3 did feel very good and was clearly better than the Kindle 2’s back felt. It’s a soft, textured grip, and feels good.

      Just tried out the Nook and Nook is pretty good too. However, there’s a few days’ gap so can’t recently comment with confidence – Kindle 3 feels a little better because it’s much lighter and softer.

  8. [...] There are lots more features to try out – To get a better idea of the best features and get to know the Kindle better check out the manual or this post on Kindle 3 insights. [...]

  9. “The Kindle 3 guide talks about an easy way to add multiple items to a Collection. Navigate to a collection, press right to see the options, and choose ‘Add/Remove Items’. You then get a list of all items on your Kindle and can add whatever items you want to the Collection.”

    After a user Adds an item to or Removes an item from a Collection, the Kindle should advance to the next item in the list, instead of remaining in place and forcing the user to hit the down arrow.

    If the item clicked is the last item in the list, the Kindle should move down to the “Done” button.

    • PS: If the item is the last on the page, but not in the list, the Kindle should advance to the next page.

  10. [...] http://ireaderreview.com/2010/07/29/kindle-3-kindle-3-insights/ List of information that you would not have otherwise known about the kindle [...]

  11. [...] http://ireaderreview.com/2010/07/29/kindle-3-kindle-3-insights/ List of information that you would not have otherwise known about the kindle [...]

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