Amazon's new Kindle firmware: PDF and more battery life

Amazon (AMZN) just pushed a firmware update for the Kindle. Now you can view PDFs without converting them, rotate the view, and enjoy better battery life (if you're lucky). In IT Blogwatch, bloggers give it a go.

By Richi Jennings. November 25, 2009.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention how to make movies...


   Jared Newman reads the press release:

Amazon has boosted the battery life of its Kindle e-reader and added native support for PDF documents ... through a firmware upgrade that took six months to develop. As a result, Amazon claims that Kindles will get an 85 percent boost in battery life, lasting seven days with wireless turned on compared to four days previously.


Native PDF support will allow users to transfer files via USB or e-mail them to their "" e-mail addresses. PDFs can also be converted to the Kindle format by including "Convert" in the subject. ... It's easy to see the firmware update as a counter-attack against Sony's Readers and Barnes & Noble's Nook. ... Amazon's gaining an advantage in the battery wars, giving the company a selling point for the Kindle's existing hardware.

Geoffrey A. Fowler has a concern:

Owners of new Amazon Kindles ... won’t have to do anything; indeed, they might not even notice the upgrade. ... Amazon says the modified firmware will be downloaded automatically, the next time users activate their Kindle’s wireless networking and the device goes into sleep mode.


It’s hard to see why any user wouldn’t welcome such free enhancements, particularly the extended battery life — which Amazon says required six months of development and testing. On the other hand, the process underscores an issue that has raised problems for Amazon in the past — making changes to Kindles without users’ knowledge. ... Most consumer electronics devices and PC software are programmed to ask permission before an upgrade.

Kevin C. Tofel clarifies the battery life thing:

The specifics of firmware v2.3 mention that only Kindles with the HSPA radio will see ... a whopping 85% ... power boost. No such luck for the early EVDO models.


[I] really won’t be affected because the increased power management benefits only applies when the Kindle’s wireless radio is active. I don’t ever leave my radio on — I simply turn it on as needed and then immediately turn it off.

Dave Freeman adds:

In addition to the PDF functionality and improved battery life; the firmware update also adds the ability to manually control your screen rotation and makes it possible to convert your PDF files to the Kindle format.

  To read more about this update or to download it manually go here.

But Brit blogger Gordon Kelly's not satisfied:

Native PDF support [is] a much requested feature, though I suspect not nearly as requested as adoption of the open source ePub format. Is it enough to make us want to cough up for an International edition Amazon Kindle? Nope, not until Amazon eBook prices come down, subscriptions to UK publications are displayed properly and the web browser actually works.

  Ho + hum.

So what's your take?

Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...


Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

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