One of the features that Jeff Bezos showed at Amazon’s Fire phone unveiling last month was “auto-scroll” in the Kindle Reader app — the ability to tilt the phone backward or forward to automatically scroll down the page in a Kindle book, and then tap the screen for “cruise control” to set the speed or pause.
New Fire phone owners, many of whom started receiving their devices yesterday, will notice that the auto scroll features is available in Amazon’s Silk browser, for navigating web pages.
However, Amazon actually isn’t shipping the feature in the Fire phone’s Kindle Reader app yet.
Amazon says that will change in a couple months. We noticed the feature’s absence while we were testing the device for our Fire phone review, and the company told us that auto-scroll and cruise control for the Kindle Reader will be available in a software update targeted for late September, to allow extra time for “software development and reformatting of the Kindle catalog to ensure a great customer experience.”
(When reading books on the phone, the pages still turn horizontally, the old-fashioned way.)
Auto-scroll is an example of the one-handed navigational gestures enabled by the sensors in the corner of the device. As noted in our review, I struggled at times with some of the one-handed gestures in the phone — having a tough time getting the “tilt” feature to bring up side-panel menus, and inadvertently enlarging images in the Amazon shopping app by accidentally activating the “peek” gesture, for example.
But so far, the auto-scroll in the Silk browser so far is an exception for me. I like the ability to tilt the phone to scroll up and down a web pages, and it works well.
The big question, after the company adds the auto-scroll feature to the Kindle Reader app for Fire phone, is whether future Kindle tablets or e-readers might get some of those sensors, as well, to enable a similar feature on Amazon’s other devices. The company doesn’t talk about unreleased products, but there would be a lot of appeal to simply tilting the Kindle Paperwhite, for example, to scroll through a book without tapping to turn the page.