November 19, 2013, 6:00 AM —
If you've got a fairly recent Kindle Fire HD (specifically a 2nd generation Kindle Fire HD, a Kindle Fire HDX or a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9") your device is about to get a little bit better.
Amazon released a software update yesterday that gives you some new features. It should arrive on your device sometime in the next few weeks, or if you're the impatient type you can head to Amazon and download the update manually (here's some help on how to do that).
So what's new? The two main features are Goodreads integration and Second Screen support.
Goodreads is an Amazon-owned social network based on reading. In terms of the new Kindle support, it lets you rate and review books from the device, see what your Goodreads friends are reading, and share quotes with them. Of course you could already do that from a browser. But the update also gives you the opportunity to import all your Amazon book purchases into Goodreads, which will help get you past that onerous first Goodreads chore of importing your existing book collection.
Second Screen is a way to push content from your tablet to your TV. At this point only some Samsung TVs and Sony's Playstation 3 are supported (Playstation 4 support is coming soon). This functionality sounds similar to using Airplay with an iPad and Apple TV, or pushing content from a generic Android device to a Chromecast. Once your video is up on the TV screen you can use the Kindle tablet to control playback and for X-Ray support.
There's a bunch of other smaller features that you can read about in the press release but one that caught my eye is Cloud Collections:
Cloud Collections helps you organize your books, newspapers, magazines, and apps in customized collections for easy reference, and Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes the collections across your Kindle devices and reading apps so they’re available on all of your devices.
I don't use a Kindle Fire but I sure would like to see support for Cloud Collections come to Kindle reading apps. The account I share with my girlfriend is chaos! Anything that would let me organize it in one spot, and have that organization pushed to all devices, would be most appreciated.
I don't have a recent Kindle Fire. If anyone out there does and has first hand experience with the new OS update, please let us know what you think of it!
[Update: Today Amazon announced an update for the Kindle Paperwhite that brings Goodreads and Cloud Collections (among other things) to that device as well.]
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.