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article imageKindle owners urged to update their device to keep using it

By James Walker     Mar 21, 2016 in Technology
Amazon has warned owners of older models of its Kindle e-reader that they need to install an important software update today or face the device becoming unusable online from later this week. From March 22, Kindle services will be inaccessible.
Amazon publicly issued an advisory earlier this month. Everyone who owns a Kindle built between 2007 and 2012 is affected if the device has not been connected to the Internet since October 5, 2015 and has received no software updates.
Individual models at risk of going permanently offline tomorrow include the original Kindle and Kindle Touch generations as well as the first Kindle Paperwhite. A detailed breakdown of the software versions required for each device can be found on Amazon's support site.
Not installing the software update will prevent affected Kindles from accessing critical services including the Kindle Store and e-books stored online. The device will continually display the message "Your Kindle is unable to connect at this time," beginning on or after March 22. The user will not be able to connect to a Wi-Fi network, preventing easy installation of the update at a later date.
The software can be installed manually after March 22 to revive a disconnected device. It is a more complex and less user-friendly method than an over-the-air Wi-Fi update. The files have to be downloaded manually and transferred to the Kindle using a computer and USB cable. The Kindle can then be updated by going to the Settings menu and choosing "Update Your Kindle."
Amazon hasn't explained what causes its older Kindle models to disconnect from the Internet from tomorrow. It could be due to time-sensitive security certificates expiring, preventing the Kindle from verifying the identity of web servers. This would require an update to issue new certificates.
The patch will be installed automatically if a Kindle is left unattended while connected to a Wi-Fi network and with a power cable attached. The user will then be prompted to restart the device to complete the update. Owners who have disabled automatic updates will need to manually initiate the process from the settings menu.
The critical update is only likely to be an issue to people who don't usually install new releases when they are made available. Some owners like to refuse new software because it changes the interface or functionality of the device, persevering with the original release to stick with the familiar way of using their e-reader.
According to the iKindleworld blog, the update does introduce a new interface style that includes a list of "recommended" reading, an addition that not everyone will be pleased with. Not all Kindle models will receive this version of the software though as it isn't compatible with every device.
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