Amazon has released another new software update dated March 2021 for all Kindles dating back to the Kindle Voyage, except the Kindle Paperwhite 3 (again).
The new firmware version is 5.13.5, and according to the release notes it adds nothing new. All it says is “Performance improvements, bug fixes, and other general enhancements.”
However, sometimes they neglect to mention certain new features that get added during updates, like series grouping in the last update (but it doesn’t seem to work very well yet so maybe that’s why they aren’t bragging about it).
It’s been a long time since a Kindle update has added any really useful new features. Most of the stuff added in the past 15 months is just fluff. They reorganized some of the menus, added more advertisements to the homescreen, added badges to covers to identify Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited titles, and that’s about it.
The last major thing they added via a software update that made people happy was the dark mode toggle early last year, and that wasn’t even a new feature, just a new way to access an existing feature.
Despite the update adding seemingly nothing worth value, now people can complain about the Kindle Paperwhite 3 not getting the update again, even though it was released eight Kindles ago in 2015. Amazon delayed a software update for the Kindle Paperwhite 3 last year that created plenty of groans so here we go again.
Like all previous Kindle updates, you can wait for the new software to download over Wi-Fi and install automatically on your Kindle in the coming weeks (sometimes months), or you can install it manually whenever you’d like. The update files are available to download for each model on Amazon’s official Kindle Software Updates Page.
Sportbike Mike says
These frequent ‘pointless’ updates Kindles get are the reason they don’t have all the weird bugs Nooks have.
I am having the latest Oasis and after applying the update I am recognizing way faster page turns of the eink display. Everything is feeling much faster and smoothrt than before. I am having around 1000 side load books and around 50 from kindle store on it.
Performance improvements and bug fixes are not pointless. It would be nice if they detailed those out though.
It would be nice if my Oasis battery life was better than current disaster.
Nathan, I don´t get your negative attitude towards Kindles. Seriously getting tired of it. Are you trying to steer people away from Kindle so that they will buy GoodeReader products? I would think this is good news. Sure, no great new features added, certainly not things we all wish they would add. But you certainly can´t say they are ignoring the Kindle. We should be happy that they are working on making it better, even if it´s in baby steps. The other day you admitted how the Boox tends to forget older products after some time. Amazon is trying to keep up with most of the Kindle line. With your comments you are fostering a negative attitude that I don´t think is good for this community of e-ink device users. It´s a good thing that there is a wide variety of products because then there will be a device for everybody since it is impossible to make one single device that will please everyone. Your negative attitude towards companies who are attempting to provide e-ink devices is bad for the market as it will infect users with a negative attitude and possibly stop supporting their efforts. We need to be grateful that Amazon is working on the Kindle. Maybe if more people show enthusiasm towards the devices, then Amazon may be more willing to listen to our requests. Just stop with the negativity. It´s getting really old. This page will only end up with complainers rather than users enthusiastic towards the future and possibilities of e-ink devices. You don´t like them, then stop reporting and allow someone else to report the good news. Or leave the community. We need positivity, not negativity.
Not to sound like a butt kisser, but Nathan should continue as is, regardless of attitude. I’m sure Amazon and other e-ink based companies would greatly appreciate honesty over forced enthusiasm or forced negativity (as listening to honesty from consumers about said product(s) could help create a better product) – I know other consumers do.
There is a difference between being honest about the short coming of a product and just being negative. I´m all for honesty, but to call the updates as pointless just because it doesn´t make some huge noticeable change to a system is being negative. He said that the last update was nothing much to it. But then it came out that the update closed a possible attack goes to show that often we don´t know the changes they make in the updates. I´m just asking to stop the negativity. Not for him to be honest about how a product can do or not. I´m to saying we can´t air out wish list of features we would like to have in a product. But it can be done in the spirit of positive change rather than sowing negativity. Kindles are not for everyone, neither are kobos, nor Boox or other products. But we can be excited about how the industry has evolve and hope it will continue.
Rod, you are being overly dramatic and sensitive. Quit crying, honestly. Your pessimistic response to an honest review is really the problem here. As a regular reader of this blog I wouldn’t call Nathan pessimistic in any sense. He gives honest reviews on all eReader devices from different companies, not only on here but on YouTube as well. Perhaps he may sound a bit disappointed in this case because this has gone on way too long with Amazon and Kindle already. We’re talking over a year of pointless updates. It’s to the point where yes, there is some cause for pessimism. And that’s OK, companies and the community deserve an honest opinion. I for one am grateful for it. If this was the first or second or even third pointless update I’m sure the attitude would be much different. The tone wouldn’t be as dark but since once again this has gone on for over a year then yes it’s time to speak up about it. Whether you like the truth or not.
So sorry to hear that you think any update is pointless. That is really a negative attitude. It´s great that they do updates as it means they are still supporting their product. You keep ignoring that the previous update closed a security loop. Hardly pointless. I also don´t see how having a negative attitude is the only way to be honest. I never once said for anyone to stop being honest. Nathan did say that he has a rant section of the site. So, I supposed I´m saying to keep the line clear between simply reporting the facts and ranting your perceived frustrations. Don´t get upset at me expressing my point of view. So, the updates are pointless just because Amazon doesn´t tell you what they fixed specifically? Because their didn´t cater to all your desires? Because they stay focused on their product line and don´t turn the kindle into a tablet? You you rather they not bother with any updates and forget supporting their products all together?
I forgot to mention that the last update from Kindle also closed a potential security breach. Which is great. They stopped something that could have been a problem. So these little updates are not insignificant. Just because they don´t tell you what they did, it doesn´t make it insignificant.
Have you thought of creating your own fan community blog for Kindle? Another voice cheering on e-ink tech and pushing it to keep on evolving and getting better is always welcome.
For myself I don’t find Nathan negative and greatly appreciate his candour. I come to this blog for his
in-depth knowledge on the e-ink technology and really appreciate the analysis he shares on the companies and products showcasing this technology.
I have used Nathan’s support articles to repair and/or optimize my e-reader software many times and all for free.
Perhaps Amazon could start giving some details of updates – would be good for all.
I’ve been doing this for nearly 12 years now so I’ve seen a lot of changes in the ereader industry, and there’s no question that Kindle development has reached a level of stagnation not seen before.
There was a time when Jeff Bezos himself would get up on stage to unveil new Kindles. In years past Kindles were a big deal for Amazon, but now Alexa has taken that place and with B&N all but giving up on Nooks, Amazon has been content to let Kindle development get by with the bare minimum for years.
I will admit to an increasing disgruntled voice seeping into some of these recent articles because of a growing sense of frustration with a lack of new developments, but that’s nothing new. I’ve been writing critical articles for years about a number of topics and I’m not about to stop now. That’s what the rants section is for. This article doesn’t even qualify, though admittedly it is a little on the snarky side. Sorry if it offended you.
This industry is full of wishful marketing, sleazy resellers, false medical claims, and companies constantly trying to sell us more stuff that we don’t want or need. Pointing that out occasionally is something I’d rather do than posting phony positive reviews just to sell more products like a certain other ereader blog. Speaking of which, now’s a good time to point out that software updates are known to cause just as many new problems as they solve.
I wasn’t saying that you shouldn’t be honest about the realities of the good and bad of devices. I wasn’t offended, just it seems like there is some level of hate towards kindle’s. That would be different from pointing out that there haven’t been much in innovation on the part of Amazon. My comment was towards using words such as pointless. I agree with the other reader that it would be nice if Amazon was more forward in details of what their update actually does. I do appreciate the honesty in your reviews and I have learned a lot from the site. I’m just saying that the undertone of some of the writing isn’t helpful. Although there may not have been much in innovation on behalf of Amazon, there is no question that many users really are happy with their Kindle devices. I’m sure that sometimes updates don’t work as expected. If that is the case then say so. I’m glad Amazon still does updates for a good portion of their products. So, even though there’s not much in innovation as you would demand, they haven’t forgotten the devices all together. Something that can’t be said of other manufacturers. I’m not in the business of starting my own website. I don’t have the time nor resources nor knowledge to do it. I’m hoping to provide feedback to Nathan with the hope of improving the site. I look forward to learning about the good and bad of the various products out there. I really don’t think it is necessary to be negative in tone. Just give us the facts.
Jan M says
Totally agree with you Rod.
I think Amazon is just hurting themselves by not progressing with their Kindles. Impression is that they feel they have the 10 inch Fire and that should be enough for larger ereaders. They lost my device business because of keeping the 6 and 7 inch size and giving the larger size the asymmetrical shape. I moved to Kobo for daring to go big, but again – asymmetrical though 8 inch screen. In my opinion Kobo’s devices are better than Amazon’s and Kobo offers the comfort warm light to all but their Nia where Amazon only gives you the warm light in the Oasis. Kobo battery life is way better than Kindles. The newest PW I bought for aunt loses half its charge with screen off and no use within two weeks. Enter Onyx Boox. I am retired and I do not watch tv. I read all of the time. The best decision I made was to buy the 10.3 Note 3. My Kindle and Kobo apps work well, I have the large screen, long battery life and the symmetrical format. This is the ideal reader for me. Onyx keeps making devices and tweaking them and they have provided what a lot of people have been asking for – larger screen. Amazon makes tweaks which is fine, bug fixes fine, but they still refuse to listen to what a lot of their customers want – a much larger screen. If they do not keep cresting new devices to try to meet the needs of readers – they will lose them to another company who is more willing to keep inventing. I agree with the opinion that Kindles are stagnant and have been for a couple of years.
I appreciate your comments on Kobo. I am holding on to my Kindle Voyage for now, but the screen is small, and the battery is getting weaker. If something happens to it, I will be looking for a bigger screen with a warm light. What I do not like about other devices, like Kobo, is that I cannot really see them at stores, so I have to trust video reviews about the quality of their screens or contrast.
I am with Nathan on this one. I am disappointed, not just with Amazon, but with other companies, by the lack of progress in e-reader development. While it is good there are updates for Kindles, they are just tiny band-aids.
Shannon Randall says
People please. Kindle doesn’t claim to be a notebook or an iPad. Be thankful it makes small fixes for attributes that are merely annoying, not earthshaking. I would love to have a longer battery life. Mine are all so puny. I always have a small backup battery with me.
Sorry, folks. I didn’t mean to cause such a firestorm or intend to steer the discussion so far off topic. I’m going to disable comments on this post before things get ugly.