On 27th Feb 2023, Amazon released the first updates to the software on their Kindle Scribe.
Many early adopters of the Kindle Scribe (including myself) were underwhelmed by the native note-taking app and were eagerly awaiting an update to the firmware to provide more functionality.
How to get the latest update
Amazon will roll out the update to the Kindle Scribe in batches.
However, if you don’t want to wait, Amazon provides instructions for manually updating the software here. This method involves downloading the update on your computer and then copying it to your Kindle Scribe via the USB cable.
What’s in the new update?
Software version 126.96.36.199 includes some new brushes and the ability to jump to pages within the note-taking app. You can also create subfolders for organising your notebooks. Finally, there is a selection of new screensavers.
In my opinion, the best thing about the latest version is the selection of new brushes/pens.
As well as the original pen and highlighter, you can now select:
- Fountain pen – for those familiar with the reMarkable 2, this is very similar to the calligraphy pen
The marker and pencil both utilise pressure sensitivity, so light and heavy strokes will be reflected on the screen. In addition, the pencil seems to have some sensitivity to how the stylus is tilted, which is useful for shading when sketching.
Go to Page in notebook
The ‘Go to page’ feature is a simple option to jump to a particular page in your notebook.
You simply tap the ellipses in the top right and select Go to page, then type in the page number you wish to jump to.
Subfolders for notebooks
For those that use multiple notebooks, there is now an option to organise them with folders and subfolders, You can now nest subfolders within folders (and subfolders within subfolders) to create a deeper organisational hierarchy.
The latest update also includes some new screensavers for when the Kindle Scribe is in Sleep Mode (provided you have not set the screensaver to be your current book cover). The screensavers are random and there is no way to select a preference. Here’s an example of one of them:
The new pens are a very welcome addition to the Kindle Scribe, and I must say I really like them – particularly the way they have been programmed to utilise the pressure and tilt sensitivity of e-ink screens with a Wacom EMR layer.
The folders and ‘Go to page’ are also very nice, however, I would argue that these are basic functions that really should have been included from the launch – a ‘page overview’ would have been better. Although the Scribe now has the option to jump between pages, you still have to know which page number you want to go to – it still fails to provide an option to view all the pages of a notebook and then tap the one you want as almost every other e-ink writer does.
All I can say about the new screensavers is meh! Although they look nice, I think the time they spent on this could have been better spent elsewhere.
On the whole, though, these are good signs that Amazon is moving in the right direction to begin to compete with the capabilities of other e-ink writing tablets. I think the new pens are awesome but they still have a long way to go…
About the author
Dan Dutton is passionate about E-ink writing tablets, which bring together the pleasure of writing on paper with the power of digital technology. When he bought his first tablet, he realised that there wasn't a lot of unbiased information available for people that were considering buying an E-ink tablet, and so he built eWritable.