Thursday, February 13, 2014


Love my Kindle Fire HDX

I'm loving my new Kindle Fire HDX. As a die-hard Apple fanboy, I thought that I would never find something to live up to my iPad. But the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX has really surprised me. Let me start off by saying what I use a tablet computer for. The major things I do on a tablet are to read books and news articles and to write. 

The Kindle Fire HDX is great for reading. Amazon has over 2 million book to buy. I find the vast majority of books can be read aloud using the Kindle Fire HDX. I love the excellent quality of the text-to-speech voice. It is easy to read books aloud. You just go to your book and open the text features for the book. Text features allow you to change the text size or the background color of the page. You click on the 'more settings' and toggle text-to-speech on. You will only have to do this step once. When you go back to your book tap on the middle of the page. You will see an arrow. Tap the arrow and the voice will read the book. I find the best speeds for read aloud are voice speeds 1.0 or 1.5. I've contacted Amazon and recommended a 1.25 speed. Again I like the large selection of books and the ability to easily have them read aloud. 

The Kindle Fire HDX can also read webpages and news articles aloud. There are some great free apps to do this. @Voice Aloud Reader can read webpages and news articles. Open the Silk browser to a webpage. At the bottom of the browser is a tab symbol with three lines on it. When you tap the tab symbol a menu will pop up. On the menu is the choice to 'Share This Page'. After selecting to share a list will appear with @Voice Aloud Reader. When you tap this choice the text from the webpage will be loaded and read to you. A great feature is as the text is rad aloud, the text is highlighted. @Voice Aloud Reader can also read news articles from the popular news aggregator Zite. The app Google News & Weather lists news articles and has a build in text-to-speech reader.

Writing on the Kindle Fire HDX is a dream. The Kindle Fire HDX comes with a Swype keyboard and Nuance's speech recognition build in. I especially like the ease of running your finger over the letters to make words. The Swype style keyboard is very accurate at guessing which words you are entering. In fact your swipes do not have to be that accurate or your spelling may be wrong and the program is very robust at figuring out what you mean. After you get use to it, I think it is about as fast as using a standard keyboard. It definitely beats pecking away at each letter. The keyboard also comes with great word prediction build in. When you swipe a list of possible words will appear. If the correct word is not presented first time around, then it is most likely in the list of alternatives. If you do type individual letters at a time, a list will predict what you are going to type. This list feature is most helpful to students with word production difficulties. Build into the keyboard is a microphone key. By pressing this key one can dictate instead of type. After dictating a sentence it is transcribed into text. This dictation uses Nuance's Dragon Dictation. So dictation is very actuate. I use OfficeSuite Pro app to do all of my writing. The nice thing about this app is the word processing is very much like using MS Word on a PC. Files can be saved in Word format for easy exporting to other individuals or devices. All in all composing and writing on the Kindle Fire HDX is a breeze and satisfying. 

Some people are concerned that the Kindle Fire HDX does not have access to all the Apps in the Google Play Store. I've found a way around this. I purchase my apps on my Android phone. Then using an app called APK Extractor I can email the app to my Kindle Fire HDX to be installed. In this manner I've legitimately paid for the apps and can have them on my Kindle Fire HDX. To install these apps on the Kindle Fire you go to settings > applications > toggle allow unknown apps to on. In this way I was able to get Darwin Reader on my Kindle Fire to read Bookshare books. I don't use Darwin Reader on my phone; therefore, I transferred the app to my Kindle and then deleted it from my phone.

So to sum it up, I am enjoying my Kindle Fire HDX and highly recommend it to everyone.

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