Potential Kindle 3 freezing fix available via Kindle 3 update

The latest update for the Kindle 3 is now available for download. It’s called 3.0.1 and there are three different versions.

This update seems to fix the Kindle 3 freezing issue for some/most people. People who were having the Kindle 3 freezing issue are mostly seeing the issue disappear after their Kindle 3 gets this update.

Warning: Very small sample size and anecdotal evidence.  

What is the new Kindle Upgrade? Should you get it?

An early preview release of the Kindle 3.0.1 software update is available at Amazon’s website. It’s an ‘early preview’ of a Kindle 3 update which Amazon is releasing to gather more customer information.

It’s an upgrade that is defined as -

This software update adds the ability to create a new Amazon.com account directly from your Kindle, as well as additional performance improvements.

It’s probably better defined as -

This is our best fix for the freezing issue and we’re hoping you’ll test it out and let us know. We can fix it for 80% of people who’re seeing it. We need more data to figure out how to fix it for everyone.

Note: This is just my opinion.

There’s no other explanation for why Amazon would release an ‘early preview’ and ask for feedback. It’s also puzzling that there are two sets of Kindle 3s marked out (Serial Numbers starting with B00A and Serial Numbers starting with B006) with separate fixes for each.

  1. If you aren’t having the freezing issue – Please don’t download the new update. It’s much better to wait until it’s well understood and Amazon sends it out to everyone.
  2. If you are having the freezing issue but can live with it or can’t take a chance on a ‘preview release’ – Again, please don’t download the update. It’s better to wait until the brave souls have tested it out for you.
  3. If you are experiencing the freezing issue and you’re willing to try out the Kindle 3.0.1 update – Well, check out the next section.

 Once more time just to be sure -

Warning: If you don’t have the freezing issue or aren’t willing to risk an ‘early preview’ release then please DO NOT install the fix.

How do you install the new Kindle Upgrade?

The Help Page has good instructions. However, will quickly walk you through the steps -

Go to Help and Read Instructions

Go to the Amazon Help Page linked above (Kindle 3.0.1 software upgrade). Read the instructions.

Find out which Kindle you have

Figure out whether you have Kindle WiFi or a B006 Kindle 3 or a B00A Kindle 3. 

To do this press Menu on the Kindle Home Page and choose Settings. On the Settings Page scroll down to the bottom and look at the Device Info section.

  1. Kindle WiFi – The network capability will say ‘Wi-Fi’ and serial number will start with B008.  
  2. Kindle 3G Group B006 - The network capability will say ‘Wi-Fi and 3G’ and serial number will start with B006.
  3. Kindle 3G Group B00A - The network capability will say ‘Wi-Fi and 3G’ and serial number will start with B00A.

After figuring this out go back to the help page and choose the appropriate download link.

Download Kindle 3 Update and move to Kindle 3

Choose the appropriate download link and click on it. Choose ‘Save’ in the File Download dialog and save to a Folder like Documents which will be easy to remember and easy to access.

The various file names are (these might change if Amazon changes the files) -

  1. Kindle WiFi - Update_kindle_3.0.1_B008.bin .
  2. Kindle 3G Serial Number B00A group – Update_kindle_3.0.1_B00A.bin .
  3. Kindle 3G Serial Number B006 group – Update_kindle_3.0.1_B006.bin .

Now plug your Kindle 3 or Kindle WiFi into your computer and drag (or copy) the downloaded file into the main Folder of your Kindle. This is the folder that has ‘Documents’ and ‘Music’ and other folders in it.

Update your Kindle 3

Unplug your Kindle 3 from the computer. This is important. Don’t just eject it – unplug it. Go to the Settings Page again (On the Kindle Home Page press Menu and choose Settings).

On Settings Page press Menu and you should see the ‘Update Your Kindle’ link available in the Menu. You won’t see this if you didn’t move the file correctly or downloaded the wrong file. Press this link and the Kindle will start upgrading.

Please don’t turn off the Kindle 3 or try to restart it – just let it upgrade. It takes 5 to 10 minutes (sometimes a bit longer). It goes through two restarts so don’t interrupt it if you see the second restart.

After that your Kindle 3 will be up to date. To confirm you have the latest version go to the Settings Page and at the bottom right check the Version. It should say Kindle 3.0.1.

What are Kindle 3 owners seeing with the latest update?

Well, here’s what people are reporting -

  1. Page turns seem to be faster. Not sure in my case as page turns were pretty fast and didn’t remember to time them before upgrading. 
  2. If you have a Mac you might see an issue where you get a zip file instead of a .bin file. Call up customer support. The fix (untested) might be deleting ‘.bin’ from the end of the file name.
  3. A few people were seeing Kindle 3 freezing when using the Browser and are no longer seeing that problem.
  4. Don’t see the ‘ability to create a new Amazon account’ that’s listed on the update page. Not even sure of how to check for it.
  5. Quite a few people are reporting that they are seeing no problems at all after the Kindle 3 update. There is also one person (on another forum thread) who reports that the fix didn’t work for her.

It’s pretty cool to see a potential fix done and available. It seems to be working for most people and if you’re having the Kindle 3 freezing issue – hopefully, it works for you.

Kindle Freezing Fix works for one user, 3 Kindle Book Deals

A lot about the Kindle 3 to cover in this post.

Kindle 3 Freezing Issue solved for one user, fix might be arriving soon

Thanks a ton to John for a new update on the Kindle 3 Freezing Bug and news that the fix that’s being tried out worked on his Kindle 3 -

Amazon also contacted me yesterday regarding an earlier conversation on the freezing issue and asked if they could upload an update to the firmware which they did.

I think he mentioned that the update would soon be released to all kindle owners.

My Kindle version software is now 3.0.1 (525120101).

Since the update there have been no “freeze ups”.

This is really good news – It’s working and hopefully it’ll work for all Kindle 3′s.

Contrast Effect due to Graphite Kindle Casing

Courtesy Wikipedia we get a good explanation for why the Kindle 3 Graphite is better for contrast than the white one (thanks to Sawyer for the information) -

Simultaneous contrast identified by Michel Eugène Chevreul refers to the manner in which the colors of two different objects affect each other. The effect is more noticeable when shared between objects of complementary color.

In the image here, the two inner rectangles are exactly the same shade of grey, but the upper one appears to be a lighter grey than the lower one due to the background provided by the outer rectangles.

The image shows two rectangles with outer rectangles framing them. The inner rectangles are both the same color but the one that has a darker rectangle circling it seems lighter.

That’s exactly what’s happening with the Graphite Kindle 3. Its screen seems whiter than the screen of the white Kindle 3 because of the graphite casing.

You could argue it’s perception but it’s more than that – Since there is dark graphite casing around it our eyes can better appreciate the whiteness of the ‘white’ eInk screen and in turn the darkness of the ‘black’ eInk lettering.

So, with the graphite Kindle 3, we start with a dark eInk to white eInk contrast ratio that is 50% better (mostly due to the black being richer and darker) and add on the effect of the Graphite casing – It’s really very powerful.

Kindle 3 Book Deals

Here are 3 Kindle Book Deals -

  1. The Invasion by William Meikle is rated 4.5 stars on 13 reviews and just $1.99.

    It started during a winter storm on the North Eastern Seaboard which brought with it a strange green rain. Where it fell, everything withered, died, and was consumed. The residents of remote outposts in Maritime Canada escaped the worst of the early damage, but that was a blessing in disguise, for they were left to watch as first North America, then the world, was subsumed in the creeping green carpet of terror.

    And that was just the beginning. New life forms began to arise from the ooze, simple organisms at first, but multiplying with ever-increasing complexity. The few human survivors are faced with a full-scale invasion… and only radical measures will guarantee the survival of the human race.

  2. A Death at the North Pole by Joel M. Andre is rated 4 stars on 18 reviews and priced at 70 cents.

    Detective Lauren Bruni has dealt with death for her entire life. She has watched it ruin lives, and brought people closer together. Her job taught her to separate fact from fiction.

    But on a cold December day, all Lauren had believed in would be shattered and tossed aside. Thrust in a world unlike any she has seen before, she investigates a prominent figure’s grisly murder, and searches for answers along a strange new set of people.

    With a killer watching her every move in the background ready to strike again at a moments notice

  3. Where You Belong (None) by Patrick Dilloway is rated 4 stars on 8 reviews and priced at $1. A book inspired by The World according to Garp.

    Frost Devereaux’s odyssey of self-discovery spans three decades and takes him to every corner of America. Guiding him along his journey are the twin loves of his life: Frankie & Frank Maguire. Through his tempestuous relationships with them, he learns who he is and where he belongs.

Getting 34 free books this week is making me wonder whether it’s sustainable – Could we really have an ebook/book world that provides 30-40 free book offers every week?

There was a time when we had a few free book offers a month and any Kindle owner you told she/he would be seeing 34 free book offers in a single week would have laughed at you.

Kindle 3 Freezing minimization, Amazon testing fix

If the Kindle 3 is giving you trouble with automatic restarts or freezing you’ll be glad to know Amazon might be close to a solution. This post will also add some details on how to minimize the freezing.

Please note that these are workarounds that reduce the frequency, not remove the problem. The real solution is for Amazon to release an update that fixes the underlying issue - which Amazon seems to be in the process of doing.

Should you return your Kindle 3?

No, all signs point to a software issue that’s fixable and Amazon is already working on a fix and testing it. Two users left comments that they have the new firmware for testing, one left a photo showing the new firmware version, and another user was told by Amazon customer service that a fix would be out in 10 days.

Additionally, Amazon is offering a free replacement Kindle 3 if you’re running into freezing issues.

If you’re thinking about getting the Kindle 3 please note that this Kindle 3 freezing issue isn’t happening for everyone - From the responses on the Kindle forum it seems that there are more Kindle 3 owners not experiencing the Kindle 3 freezing issue than there are Kindle 3 owners experiencing it.

Keep in mind Mike deMaria’s advice -

To those of you who are second guessing your purchase/being sad/etc –> DON’T BE (smile) All that is most likely wrong is a bug that can be found and fixed without you doing much – other than connecting to Whispernet Via 3G or WiFi when the fix is released.

Should it have been caught before shipment? Maybe. But I do know from all my experience on the other side of things (being the programmer), sometimes bugs like these escape even the best testing. It happens.

A fix should be out soon and even in the rare case it’s an unfixable problem you can get a free replacement Kindle 3.

Possible firmware upgrade on the way to fix Kindle 3 Freezing Issues

Here’s a comment from BobLenx -

Hey gang, I got an email back from Amazon support today – good news I think. The email was as follows:

“I have heard back from the development team on our issue. It appears this problem will be addressed in an upcoming software update for the Kindle which will be sent wirelessly to you in approximately ten days or so.

In the meantime for a temporary fix you can slide the power button to the right for about 15 seconds to reset the Kindle.”

That would certainly be a good thing. Hopefully, that’s a reliable customer service representative.

K. Scarpelli even wrote to say the new firmware is being testing on his Kindle -

Good news people. I just received a call from tech support about a half hour ago and they pushed the new firmware to my Kindle. I’m running 3.0.1 (525120101).

That’s really good news. He’s even put up a picture and it clearly shows he has a different firmware version. Another user, CLS10, also got the new firmware.

In the meantime let’s figure out how to minimize Kindle 3 freezing.

What seems to work best to minimize Kindle 3 Freezing?

Here’s a rough list of things that seem to decrease the probability of restarts and freezing -

  1. A hard reset (hold down power button for 15 to 20 seconds) seems to often fix the issue. The reset via the settings page isn’t effective – you have to use the power switch reset.
  2. Let Kindle 3 charge for 3 to 6 hours before using it.  
  3. Don’t download hundreds of books at the same time.  
  4. If you’ve just downloaded books and they’re indexing (Kindle is preparing them for searches) don’t do lots of intensive things. If possible even hold off for a few hours and let Kindle index. Do a search for ‘xqwe’ and it’ll show a list of books (if any) that haven’t been indexed – Wait for that list to go to zero.
  5. Don’t visit lots of complex websites one after the other. The web browser seems to be causing a lot of crashes so if you can avoid it that’d be best.
  6. Don’t load up lots of PDFs from strange places. If you’re having problems with PDFs delete a few of them and then try reading the remaining PDFs.
  7. Don’t add tons and tons of highlights quickly.
  8. WiFi might play a part so if you have the option of either work with 3G. Using 3G solved the freezing issue for some Kindle 3 owners.
  9. Importing Collections is causing a problem often enough that it might not be a bad idea to hold off on it for a bit.

Some users are taking up Amazon Customer Service’s offer of a replacement Kindle. Will update this post if they report back that the replacement fixes the issues – since lots of people aren’t seeing the freezing there’s a high chance the replacement Kindle 3 will be free of the freezing issue.

Kindle 3 Freezing – Possible Causes

Let’s look at the various situations which seem to cause freezing or reboots. We’ll also look at what people found worked. Most of these are from the official kindle forum.

Freezing right in the beginning -

  • It’s recommended to let your Kindle 3 charge for 3 hours before using it. There are claims that if you don’t do this it’s likely to cause more crashing – No idea whether these claims are valid but it certainly doesn’t hurt to let Kindle 3 charge fully.

Freezing and Restarts when Indexing a large number of books -

  • For some people the problems occur only when they are downloading/adding a lot of books at once. This suggests it might be an indexing issue.
  • The solution here is to not load up lots and lots of books at once.

Freezing and restarts when doing things very quickly one after the other -

  1. If you go into the photo viewer and do lots of changes at the same time sometimes the Kindle 3 freezes.
  2. The solution for this would be to not change settings multiple times in rapid succession.

For some people Every Word is causing problems – Well, Kindle Apps do freeze up on Kindle 3 and didn’t on Kindle 2. Kindle Apps presumably take up a lot of memory and processing power so if the crashing is related to processor overload or Kindle running out of free memory it would make sense that games crash more often.

Freezing and restarting due to WiFi -

  1. Quite a few people have had freezing when they were using WiFi. 
  2. A few people have had freezing disappear when they stopped using WiFi. It probably means the WiFi feature’s code is doing whatever causes the freezing more often than other features’ code.  

It seems more and more likely that there’s a single bug underlying all these freezing problems.

A common thread of a Memory Leak or a Processor Overload

If you look at all the things that might be causing freezing and restarts it seems that whenever you do memory intensive or processor intensive tasks on the Kindle 3 it crashes or freezes. We get errors more frequently when -

  1. Indexing lots of books.
  2. Doing lots of changes one after the other.
  3. Loading complex websites in a row.
  4. Loading lots of PDFs.
  5. Highlighting frequently.

It definitely suggests that either there is a memory leak or the processor is getting overloaded and is unable to cope.

Here’s a comment from Mike that suggests the same thing -

Being the good programmer that I am, to me it appears we are all having a memory leak issue.

The other day I could see things getting slower and slower until finally the K3 locked up and needed a hard reset. It would also explain the random reboots if something is eating program space.

A memory leak would make the most sense as it would be something that just gradually builds up and then suddenly when you do something that needs additional memory - it causes a crash. A problem related to a memory leak would also be be triggered more frequently when doing memory intensive tasks like web browsing or loading PDFs – which is exactly what we’re seeing.

the PDF restart issue 

There’s a particular, rare bug that causes a Kindle 3 restart every single time you open a PDF. There are two things found to work for this -

  1. This is sometimes fixed by a hard reset of the Kindle. Slide and hold the power switch for 15 seconds.
  2. Another solution is to delete a few of the PDFs you have. This suggests certain PDFs might be causing an issue or that PDFs aren’t cleared out from the memory properly until they are deleted. If PDFs aren’t properly removed from memory it would make sense that all PDFs cause a restart - PDFs and the PDF reader probably need a lot of memory and the PDFs left behind in memory would reduce available memory and the PDF reader wouldn’t have enough memory to load.

This will probably also be fixed by the new firmware. It’s good to know there’s a possible Kindle 3 freezing fix being tested and everyone will soon get back to enjoying the Kindle 3.

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