Announced on Amazon earlier today, the software development team has launched a new version of the Kindle firmware for anyone that owns the basic $79 Kindle e-reader. The most notable change is a crisper font that should be easier to read due to greater contrast. The development team claims that the font is more similar to a “paper-like reading experience.” In addition to the alteration to the font type and contrast levels, the new software brings support for the new Kindle Format 8 (KF8) that’s already available on the Kindle Fire. This new format is powered by HTML5 and will allow Amazon to use more complex layouts within books formatted for Kindle.
For instance, users will be able to read comic books and graphic novels panel-by-panel with the updated Kindle Panel View and children’s books will be able to use the Text Pop Up feature to display text next to illustrations. The new format also allows authors to format their books with drop caps, numbered lists, nested tables, panning, zooming and sidebars in order to enhance the reading experience. Amazon expects that books utilizing these new features will continue to roll out as authors shift from the MOBI format to KF8.
The development team has also beefed up the Parental Controls on the Kindle. Kindle owners can now restrict access to the Kindle Store, archived books and the Experimental Web Browser. This feature will help a user hide specific books or documents from view before loaning out the Kindle to a friend or family member. Finally, all dictionaries have been collected in Home and Archived Items and categorized under “Dictionaries” for greater organization.
Similar to the launch of all firmware updates for Kindle devices, users can download the software update today and load the new firmware on the e-reader using the USB cable that came with the device. Kindle owners can also wait until Amazon pushes out the software update via Wi-Fi over the next few weeks.