The most recent Kindle replace brings some radical adjustments to Amazon’s e-reader, however solely highlights how little Amazon appears to care.
Kindle software program replace 5.13.7 revamps the house display screen and brings swipe gestures to the consumer interface. It’s the Kindle’s most vital software program revamp in years, however in the long run, it does little greater than rearrange what was already there.
That’s to not say that the adjustments aren’t welcome. It’s simply that Amazon might accomplish that way more. Why do e-books nonetheless mimic paper books so carefully? The place are the brand new options?
“I really feel as if for Kindle a giant enchancment may very well be the version of colour,” guide blogger Ashley P. informed Lifewire through electronic mail. “Most of the books I learn have stunning, eccentric covers, and would like to have these covers displayed on my Kindle—particularly as I take bookstagram photographs of them. It is higher than the all the time plain black and white.”
The 5.13.7 Replace
The 5.13.7 replace, out there now and rolling out mechanically over the subsequent few weeks, has two huge adjustments. The primary is a reimagined dwelling display screen, now cut up into two areas, that are all the time accessible from two new buttons on the backside of the display screen.
“House” incorporates your present learn, your studying lists, and a bunch of suggestions. It’s nearly the identical because the outdated dwelling display screen. The brand new “Library” tab exhibits solely your books, paperwork, and samples. The look is cleaner, nevertheless it’s only a re-organization of the prevailing dwelling display screen.
Extra fascinating are the swipe gestures. I acquired excited at first, pondering that the Kindle might have (lastly) copied the two-finger up/down swipe from the Kobo, which adjustments the front-light brightness instantly. However no.
As a substitute, it’s just like the Management Heart gesture on an iPhone. Swipe down from the highest of the display screen, and also you’ll see the brand new management panel, with a brightness slider and buttons for sync, Bluetooth, airplane mode, and additional settings. Swiping up brings you to the web page browser.
The brand new UI is a transparent enchancment. Adjusting brightness is now one faucet away, not two, for instance. However shouldn’t there be extra?
Whereas telephones and tablets proceed so as to add wonderful options yearly, the e-reader world appears moribund as compared. However do we actually want new options simply to learn books?
“I don’t suppose Kindle is definitely lagging behind the competitors—I believe that Amazon is kind of intentional in retaining the Kindle’s options quite bare-boned,” lawyer and reader Mark Pierce informed Lifewire through electronic mail. “An e-reader is an inherently easy system with one perform: to be a digital model of a guide. E-readers don’t want all of the bells and whistles that tablets and telephones have.”
The issue isn’t that we want these bells and whistles. It’s that the e-book continues to be worse than the paper guide in some methods and that the Kindle is worse than the competitors.
As talked about, the Kobo enables you to alter brightness by swiping on the display screen. It has additionally lengthy proven the duvet of your present guide because the sleep display screen, which the Kindle solely added not too long ago. And the Kobo integrates the Pocket read-later service, making it simple to avoid wasting articles out of your cellphone.
We undoubtedly don’t need electronic mail or Twitter on our e-readers, however that doesn’t imply the e-reader is ideal. What else would possibly it do?
The worst facet of an e-reader’s UI is navigation. It’s nonetheless simpler to get round a paper guide. For instance, if you wish to refer to a different web page in a paper guide rapidly, you utilize a finger to maintain your home. With a Kindle, there are quick-browsing options, however you may lose your home too simply.
How a couple of net browser-style historical past within the again button? That means, you possibly can simply get again, even after a number of exploration?
The Kobo integrates Pocket, however you may’t spotlight any of the article textual content. Given how nice e-readers are for studying, this appears important.
The Kindle’s search and dictionary lookups are additionally fairly dangerous. Search is so poor that I’ve given up utilizing it. Ditto the dictionary. It’s high-quality for widespread phrases, however the phrases I don’t know are often unusual and don’t seem within the Kindle’s easy dictionaries.
It’s not all dangerous. E-readers are unbelievable for studying languages as a result of you may search for translations by highlighting phrases. And the accessibility benefit of zoomable textual content is simply nice. An e-reader doesn’t have to get fancy, however can we actually not enhance on paper? That looks like a low bar.