Amazon Kindle Update Connects to Facebook and Twitter

A software update for Amazon's Kindle adds several new features that should be of interest to users of the popular e-book reader. Some users report they've already received the 2.5 update, which is just rolling out this week.

In a nod to the growing popularity of social networks, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has given Kindle users the ability to share meaningful passages from the books they're reading to friends on Facebook and Twitter directly from the device. The free update also adds password protection to keep content on the device safe from prying eyes when not in use.

Amazon also said it's improved the reading experience by adding two larger font sizes and sharper fonts.

While Amazon sparked a resurgence of interest and sales of e-book readers after the launch of the first Kindle in 2007, it now faces new competition from Apple's iPad, which is designed for a range of content viewing including books, video and other Web content. A number of companies are planning to bring out competitor tablets to the iPad as well.

But while the Kindle can't do everything an iPad can, it also costs $250 less than the $499 iPad and Amazon's update is focused on making the viewing of books and documents more enjoyable.

Other new features include "Collections," which lets Kindle users organize their books and documents into one or more collections for easy access. A "Pan and Zoom" feature has been added to let readers more easily navigate through PDF documents to view small print and detailed tables or graphics.

The 2.5 update also adds "Popular Highlights" to specific titles, which offers readers a view of what the Kindle community at large thinks are the most interesting passages in the books they're reading.

Amazon said Kindle users should receive the 2.5 update automatically and the device will download, install and activate the update the next time it's in range of a wireless connection and the device goes into sleep mode.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Amazon, mobile, iPad, Kindle, e-book readers