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Top 7 Kindle Touch features Amazon should include in future Kindles

Updated on July 9, 2012
4th generation Kindle Touch
4th generation Kindle Touch

Next Generation Kindle?

The Kindle Touch is one of the hottest selling items on Amazon. While it’s a great device for reading, it does have its limitations. I’m not going to discuss the merits of the arguments for or against the Kindle. Instead, the focus in this article will be on features that would take the Kindle Touch from being a very good eReader to being an outstanding eReader.

I previously reviewed and compared refurbished Kindles and noted some of the shortcomings and limitations.. Now I want to focus on features that I think would enhance the Kindle Touch and the reading experience on the Kindle. Here’s my list of seven features I’d like to see make it into future generations of the Kindle Touch.

7. A More Functional Home Button

The five, small horizontal bars that make up the home button on the bottom of the Touch are okay but why not use the 5-way controller that the basic Kindle and third generation Kindle use? Yes, the controller does something a bit different on the other Kindle models than the home button on the Touch, but it could easily be adapted for use on the Kindle Touch. Just let the center select button take you to the home screen and the outer directional button turn pages and navigate through chapters like on the other models.

6. More Font Selections

Amazon need to do some work here. You have a choice of three fonts. The Nook has several more fonts and they are quite nice. Amazon recently updated the user interface on the Touch and it’s a major improvement over the Kindle Touch UI when it first shipped. They should have added fonts. Maybe they will address this in the next software update, but I won’t hold my breath. While they’re at it, maybe they can let us fine-tune the text spacing and kerning.

5. Page Turn Buttons

The Nook Touch has page turn buttons. I’m sure the Kindle Touch could add them too. I have a feeling this feature will never make it to the Kindle Touch. I’ll admit that turning pages on the Touch is easier than turning pages in a book but it would be nice to have page turn buttons on the side to make it even easier. I don’t want to have to worry about tendinitis or carpal tunnel syndrome from reaching over with my thumb or finger and touching the screen to turn the page.

4. Ability to Change Text Size and Fonts in Each Book

Changing the font size and spacing on the Touch changes it across the entire ebook collection. Sometimes an ebook’s formatting is a little different. For example, in Amazon’s digital copy of Charles Dickens’, A Tale of Two Cities, the text is smaller and compact. If I change it to make it readable and then go to another ebook, the text size and spacing is changed too and not for the better. I realize it would take a little extra memory to save each ebook’s text settings but it would make for a much better reading experience.

3. Bluetooth

The Nook Touch has a hidden bluetooth connection that can accessed when the device is rooted (hacked). It’s not particularly functional but it renders any argument against the inclusion on the Kindle Touch moot since the Nook and Kindle both have similar features and size. Providing bluetooth capabilities would open up other uses on the Touch such as transferring files and using a physical keyboard.

2. Swype as an Alternate Keyboard

The Kindle Touch uses a modified version of the Android operating system. Why not add the popular Swype keyboard as an alternative? Swype takes up a little over 1MB of memory on an Android phone and the Touch has 4GB of memory storage. I would be happy to only be able to store 2,999 ebook titles on my Touch if I could just use Swype to make annotations.

1. Lighted Screen

A optional lighted screen model of the Kindle Touch would be nice for those of us who don’t like using a booklight. Sure, a booklight can be used on physical books too but using one can be awkward. The Nook now has this feature and it's pretty cool. I'm certain this feature will be in the next generation Kindle. Now, if I could only have it all ... a self-contained, dedicated e-ink ebook reader with no need for attachments except for the charge cord. Hey, I can dream can’t I?

This isn’t meant to be a knock on the Kindle at all. It’s more of wish list for future generations of the Kindle Touch. Feel free to add to the list in the comments or criticize mine.

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