The Kindle Scribe just got a great free update (but not the one I really want)

The Kindle Scribe is a really good tablet and notebook, and these new features are worthwhile improvements

Kindle Scribe Feb 23 software update
(Image credit: Amazon)

I've been using Kindles since the first generation, and I think the Kindle Scribe is one of the most interesting models in years: it's bigger, so it's better for graphical content and documents, and its stylus support is really fun. 

Amazon has introduced some useful new features that make it even better, and while the feature I really, really want isn't among them I like the improvements that Amazon is making. It's much easier to navigate and to organise your stuff, and that all-important scribbling is improved too.

What's new in the Amazon Kindle Scribe?

There are three key changes in this new update. The most obvious one is that there are now additional brush types for fountain pen, marker and pencils to expand your drawing and annotation possibilities. The new tools, like the existing brushes, are pressure sensitive and you can use them anywhere you can write on your Scribe.

Less obviously but potentially even more useful, folders can now contain subfolders. I think the Kindle Scribe has a bit of a split personality: one minute it's an e-reader, the next it's a notebook. For that latter role subfolders make a huge difference to organising documents and drawings, and being able to move entire folders and subfolders at a time is really useful too.

Finally there's improved page navigation within notebooks. You can now jump to specific pages by tapping on the three-dot menu at the top and selecting Go To Page.

I really like the Kindle Scribe, but there's one thing that's preventing me from using it as a notepad in the way I do with my iPad Air and Apple Pencil: handwriting recognition that can turn my writing into editable, searchable, exportable text. 

I don't know if the Kindle Scribe has the horsepower for on-device recognition, but even a cloud-based solution would make the Scribe a real powerhouse for productivity as well as for reading. And maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but when I read the About Amazon blog saying that the Kindle Scribe does not currently offer handwriting recognition (emphasis mine), I read that as "we're working on it".

I hope they are. The Kindle Scribe is a good tablet, and the latest update makes it even better. But handwriting recognition would take it from good to great.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (