Today marks the debut of two features we've been waiting for since Amazon first announced its new Kindle Fire line lo so many weeks ago. Goodreads and Second Screen integration will be rolling out to Fire HD and HDX owners over-the-air in the next couple of weeks - or you can just go to Amazon's site and download Fire OS 3.1 right now. Goodreads brings social book reading features to the tablet, so you can rate and review books and find out what your friends are reading. Also, good news for those who like showing off their virtual bookshelves - you can actually import all of the print and e-books you've bought from Amazon over the years. Second Screen, meanwhile, lets you "fling" shows from your Fire to Samsung TVs and sets with a PS3 attached (PS4 support is coming before year's end).
Also new for OS 3.1 is added enterprise support, Cloud Collections for organizing content off-device and voice diction. You can download the above in the source link below.
There was surprisingly little fanfare surrounding the announcement of Amazon's latest Fire tablets. Where last year's unveiling involved renting out an airplane hangar at the Santa Monica airport, the new tablet trio was quietly shown off to a small gathering of journalists at the company's Seattle headquarters. Asked why Amazon opted for something so low-key, a rep answered, that CEO Jeff Bezos "just likes to mix things up." (Those wacky billionaires.) Indeed, there was little rhyme or reason to the scaling back. After all, the new HDX tablets, available in 7- and 9-inch sizes, bring a number of key upgrades to the Kindle Fire line on both the hardware and software fronts.
And that's a good thing: between the Nexus 7, iPad mini and a seemingly endless parade of pocket-sized tablets, Amazon has more competition to contend with than ever. But while the company's acknowledged that its tablets are basically just content delivery vessels, it's chosen to compete on specs as well, with a 1,920 x 1,200, 323-ppi display, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and new software features that include baked-in video customer support and a "Second Screen" TV feature. So is that enough to keep the Kindle Fire competitive?%Gallery-slideshow99754%
Filed under: Tablets
New hardware without a software refresh? Don't make Jeff Bezos laugh. Today's arrival of three new slates also marks the unveiling of the company's latest tablet operating system. And this time, it even has a name. See, Amazon's been using "Fire OS" internally to describe the software powering its tablet line, and now we get to use it as well, with the arrival of version 3.0. As ever, Bezos and Co. have based the OS on Android (Jelly Bean, this time out), with this year's codename being "Mojito" -- a move from candy names to sugary cocktails. The operating system will ship on the new HDX and HD devices. We weren't able to confirm that it will roll out to older devices, but an Amazon rep we spoke with implied that there's a good chance of that, given earlier precedents.
First thing's first: there's still no Google Play access. No surprise there, of course. After all, the company's in the habit of subsidizing the cost of its hardware based on future content sales. Still, as ever, the company was quick to point out the speed with which its proprietary app store has grown in recent years. UI-wise, things look familiar. Content is still king, with the home screen built around a river of apps, games, movies, music, et cetera. The company did respond to customer concerns, however, by adding a more familiar grid-style layout that you can access with a swipe up, which should appease all you Android users out there. Swipe from the right, and you'll see Quick Switch, which lets you switch between different recently used pieces of content.