updated 03:57 pm EDT, Thu September 6, 2012
X-ray feature available for movies
Alongside Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Paperwhite hardware announcements, the company announced plans to expand its Whispersync and X-ray features. The company's synchronization service, which has been available for text e-books, has been revamped with additional support for audiobooks and Android games.
The audiobook sync capabilities are integrated with the text sync, enabling users to read an e-book at home, continue listening to the audiobook while driving to work, and then seamlessly switch back to the text without losing their spot.
As part of a demonstration at the Santa Monica launch event, Amazon showed the "Whispersync for Voice" feature with books narrated by Samuel L Jackson and Anne Hathaway. The "Immersion Reading" concept provides vocal narrations as words are highlighted on the Kindle screen.
The new Fire software also adds the ability to configure multiple profiles for several different users, while the e-mail client has been greatly improved with support for Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo accounts. Other enhancements include X-Ray search for movies, and native apps for Facebook and Skype, which will support video calling via an integrated camera.
The announcements highlight Amazon's continued push to promote the Kindle platform as a service rather than just a device, as the hardware prices continue to undercut most competing Android tablets. The company admittedly intends to make its profits from content sales rather than the Kindle hardware.