Kindle Fire update reportedly appearing: Update…you can officially download it

Kindle Fire update reportedly appearing

Update: you can now officially get the update

here

I’m starting to get reports of the Kindle Fire update being out there.

One person (who wrote me in private e-mail…if you want credit, let me know) said it was 6.2.1, and that it allows deleting from the Carousel.

Consider this a preliminary heads-up. I’ll update it when I have something more significant.

I have been syncing and powering my Kindle Fire off and on to try to prompt the update. :)

Update: Joseph K. Naneville has posted what appears to be a link to the update in this

Amazon Kindle community thread

The link is this:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/kindle-fire-updates/update-kindle-6.2.1_D01E_3103920.bin

Now, I want to be very clear. This hasn’t been, as far as I can tell, officially announced by Amazon. There is, hypothetically, a risk in trying this file. I don’t know anything about Joseph. The address is consistent with other updates.

I did, however, try it myself.

I used the free app

WiFi File Explorer PRO

which I’ve reviewed in this earlier post (along with a number of other apps) to wirelessly transfer it into the Kindle Fire‘s kindleupdates folder.

I then shut down the Kindle, by holding in the power button for several seconds.

When I restarted it, I went to

Settings Gear – More – Device, Update Your Kindle

Update Your Kindle had not been enabled until I did the power down, by the way.

The update took, oh, maybe a minute, and involved a restart.

Let’s take a look at what I see that is different:

  • The first thing was that the available memory in the Device display is now split between apps and everything else. I’d always wondered about that…the way Amazon states the memory, it was “80 apps” and something else, suggesting it was always partitioned (having a certain amount of memory dedicated to apps). That’s also what I had heard from some people…they’d reached an app installation limit while there was still memory available to them on the device. I show 1.17 GB available for apps, and 5.37 GB available for “internal storage”. I saw this first because I was checking the update
  • My system version is now 6.2.1_user_3103920
  • I long pressed (hold your fingertip on it for about a second) an item on the Carousel that was not downloaded to the device. I got a choice to “Remove from Carousel”. That’s a big one! You could remove questionable titles so other people didn’t see them. However, my literally thousands of Cloud titles were there…might take a while (not that I have that many questionable titles) ;) Note: the book still shows on the Books tab (I figured it would…you have to have some way to download it). So, somebody doing a “deep dive” into your Kindle could still see it. It does stop the casual viewer, though
  • I’m not sure if this is new, honestly, but on the Newsstand, I can long press and get a choice to “Show Back Issues”
  • Under Settings Gear – More, there is now a choice for Restrictions. You enter a password there (if you elect to use it). That then (by default) password protects your wi-fi. Is this intended for “parental controls”? This warning certainly seems to indicate so: “Be sure to disable Wi-Fi before giving the device to your child.” Honestly, that’s a bit “nanny-ish” to me…I think I can make that decision reasonably based on my child. I think I would have said something like, “If you would like to disable…” When this is on, there is a key icon that appears up by your battery. Oh, and it appears to have turned off my wi-fi…even when I disabled the restrictions. I had to manually turn it back on again…no big deal, though
  • I haven’t seen anything for Collections or text-to-speech
Performance changes (if any) will become more apparent as I use it more. If you notice anything, feel free to let me know. :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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16 Responses to “Kindle Fire update reportedly appearing: Update…you can officially download it”

  1. jjhitt Says:

    My Fire auto-updated without my noticing it.
    You can also half-way hide the Carousel by doing an upward “swipe”. A half inch or so of it remains visible, but is is enough to hide titles and cover art.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      I’d noticed that “swipe up” before the update. :) If they would let us lock the Carousel that way, it would make it easier to hide and unhide things.

  2. Betty Rice Says:

    Hey, I just wanted to let you know that the magazine backissues show up prior to the latest update. But, I didn’t know about it until you mentioned it so, thank you!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Betty!

      I sometimes think I’ve covered things pretty thoroughly, and then I stumble across something. :)

      Thanks for letting me know!

  3. MrsH Says:

    I use the 50 battery usage app and had noticed my battery draining faster than usual and it looks like the Kindle system and Kindle (not sure exactly what to classify these as) and their battery usage had gone up drastically. I was running an average 39% battery usage and now I those 2 processes alone run around 60%! I happened to be working on how to get the most out of my battery all day yesterday so I am confident this update has caused the change.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, MrsH!

      I’ve heard that concern from some other people. It’s possible that the heavy battery use will only be in the beginning, depending on what it is doing in the system. For one thing, it might have to rebuild indices, if they got wiped out.

      If you notice this continues to be the case, feel free to post again.

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Two WashPost articles about the update:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/amazons-kindle-fire-software-update-is-out-will-fix-touchscreen-issues/2011/12/21/gIQA5WJR9O_story.html?wpisrc=nl_tech

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/latest-kindle-fire-update-improves-silk-browser-performance/2011/12/20/gIQA0uDq7O_story.html?wpisrc=nl_tech

    My KF updated silently overnight (I checked yesterday when you first posted — it was not there then). Thing is: my KF was off for all of that time — it was connected to my laptop’s PC for part of that time, but it was off. So does the KF have WiFi connectivity even when it’s off?

    I have noticed fairly short battery lifetimes — part of the reason it was connected to pc’s USB was because battery was low. Not too surprising given the LCD screen. I was reading on it yesterday (before the update) for many hours when I got the battery low notification. A couple of times now, it seems as if lifetime is considerably less than a day when I’m using it a lot. All of this is pre-update.

    I’ll be interested to see what impact it has on “touchiness” — whenever my thumb is on the bezel and it overhangs the edge by even a skosh, and not even physically touching the screen, the KF will suddenly take off doing page forwards or backs (depending on how I’m holding it). I’ve taken to using a case that covers the bezel completely — that alleviates the problem.

    The silk article makes mention that the update kills root access. This is technically true, and is a necessary concomitant of the upgrade process — they imply that Amazon is trying to stamp out root access, which is not so — it’s trivially easy (for those of a rooted state of being — not me I fear) to reinstate root after the update.

    I haven’t found silk to be as bad as some reviewers imply. Compared to the browsing experience on my KDX and KT, silk is lightyears better. I don’t expect silk improvements to be dramatic — rather I expect slow but steady improvements over time.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I know the RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles…anything except a Kindle Fire) do get internet transmissions while sleeping (but I don’t think they do when actually off). Was your KF sleeping, or did you actually tell it to shut down?

      I haven’t seen problems with my Kindle Fire being too sensitive…for me, the problem was more likely to be that I couldn’t get it to recognize a press. That seems to have improved, but that could be subjective. I also think it may be that one option isn’t available…the KF doesn’t seem to indicate that things are disabled. For example, I was trying to tell a song to repeat. The random choice was already orange (selected). It wasn’t until I turned off the random choice that it recognized my press on the repeat button. That could have been coincidence, but I intend to repeat that experiment. :)

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        Maybe ‘m missing something. What’s the difference between sleeping and shutdown? I think I pushed the button on the bottom. Does that shut it down or put it to sleep? Since it was connected to a laptop USB port when the update occurred (to charge the battery), it’s possible that I let the timer turn it off. Is there a specific shutdown process?

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        When you touch and quickly release the Kindle Fire’s power button, the screen goes dark. The same is true if you hold it down long enough to get the shut down choice and then okay that.

        That’s different from an RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle), where the screen looks different in two different modes. When an RSK is sleeping, it shows a picture (a “screensaver” or sleep mode picture). When an RSK is off, the screen is blank.

        However, even though it looks the same, it is clear to me that there are two different modes.

        After the quick tap (which I would consider sleeping), a quick tap brings it back up again pretty much immediately. After the shutdown, it goes through the whole process of showing you the Kindle Fire name on a dark background, and it takes several seconds to turn on.

        If you just leave it alone, it goes into what I would consider the sleep mode…just the quick tap gets it going.

        I would presume it can process things while asleep, and not when off.

  5. Scott Foster Says:

    Bufo,

    Overall performance after the update seems quicker, books and magazines open smoothly, without the visual stutter I notice when my Fire first arrived. The carousel edit function is nice, no complaints. It seems more responsive when you touch the icons now, but I’m not sure if that’s me getting better with the interface, or the update. I still find the carousel somewhat hard to use. I have difficulty every once in a while making it stop on the icon I want. I haven’t noticed any unusual battery drain – In fact, the Fire seems to hold a charge better than my android phone, even if I’m watching a video.

    I have to wonder about what else is in the update. The download was slightly over 181 MB in size, which is significant. I wonder what else was changed under the covers. Curiously, if you install a system monitor app like Sysinfo, and take a look at the app list, there are quite a few native android apps that can’t be accessede from the app page. One of them is the android text to speech converter, TTS! I hope this bodes well for future updates, as Amazon has more time to tinker with the Fire OS.

  6. Andre Says:

    Dear Mr. Calvin
    Sorry about the formatting of my message : I am not very handy
    at writing on my Pc.
    To start with, I have to say that I bought my first kindle(keyboard3g) in
    November of this year closely followed by a kindle fire in early December.

    I am absolutely delighted with both of them. To be able to have all the
    published works of Charles Dickens, Henry James and a multitude of other authors,with
    often their private correspondence, on a single paperback sized device is truly wonderful in the literal sense of the term. The fact that one can search for
    any term that one encounters, whether on the kindle itself or on the net
    is an extremely valuable advantage.

    I must say that the aid of all your books helped me enormously to start to
    master the two devices. Even the older books helped because the hands on
    exploration of the previous kindle models gives one a more
    insightful understanding of the later incarnations.
    To paraphrase Chancellor Bismark: I like to profit from the experience of
    others.

    I also share your liking of text-to-speech : it is much more than just
    merely convenient and I find the quality of the spoken voices very much
    improved over
    the original computer generated voices from years ago. Actually I became
    quite fond of the female voice. Oddly enough, even with some poetry, I
    prefer the calm and measured tone of text-to-speech to the often overly
    melodramatic rendition of human voices. I must say, though,that well executed human
    interpretation will obviously be superior to text-to-speech.

    By the way, thank you for the tip about using Quickoffice in the Kindle Fire
    to generate text-to-speech.
    I tried it with a book in text format and it worked fine. But obviously
    it is not as sophisticated as it is on the keyboard kindle because it always
    starts from the beginning,whatever part of the book you happen to be reading
    from, when you decide to click on the speaker icon at the bottom.

    So I hope they will allow text-to-speech for the kindle fire on all kind
    of formats(at least for books that allow it). The ideal would be,if it
    is an application,to have also an option for French and Spanish books
    because, quite frankly, text-to-speech sounds dreadful when not done on an
    English text.
    I am studying Spanish and I think that this will prove to be a very valuable
    resource for anyone studying a foreign language.

    Now I like very much my kindle fire’s video capabilities and I already
    bought several movies and shows including a French film from the fifties
    and I was ready to buy many more but one consideration is stopping me
    from doing so. I will copy to you the question I sent to Amazon kindle
    customer service and their response seems to be that I could not do what
    what, in view of the limited storage on the Kindle, seems to be the obvious
    solution for any video that one buys from them.

    Since English is not my native tongue they maybe misunderstood me and I
    would like to have your advice on the matter.

    After a rapid search on the web I found an official apple site that seems to
    say that one can certainly backup their media library to a hard drive and then restore it. Now I am not familiar with apple products so I may be wrong in
    deducting this but what I found certainly seems to imply that this is possible.

    I think this question is of general interest to whoever intends to
    travel with a Kindle Fire. I must say that I found my experience with
    the Amazon store very good, actually a little bit too good since I seem
    to be spending more than I intended to which is a testimony to their
    commercial savvy. So I do not understand why they seem to be discouraging me
    from buying more of their videos. I insist on the fact that I do not mean
    streaming but downloading to the Fire than backing the videos and then
    sideloading them back and playing them on the same device they were bought
    for.
    I am sending you my question to them and their answer and could you please
    find out if they misinterpreted me or not ?

    This is the email I sent to kindle customer service:

    I am very happy with my kindle fire. The streaming works very well
    maybe because I have a fast internet connection.
    Now I have a few questions about using the Fire abroad since I intend to
    travel and stay out of the Us for a while.
    I know that I can stream and download videos only in the Us.
    But I would like to know if there is a way(since the file storage is so
    small on the fire)
    to buy movies and tv shows(which I already did) and back them on a pc or
    external
    hard drive and then move them back(with an Usb connection) to the Fire to be
    watched later.
    It seems ironic that I can apparently do this with external videos(according
    to the
    manual that came with the Fire) but not with videos that I bought from the
    Amazon store for this specific device .

    Can you please tell me if there is a way to do this : back up the videos I
    buy
    from from Amazon
    on external storage(pc or external hard drive) then move them back on the
    device they were bought for ?

    I intended to buy several movies and even whole television show seasons in
    the Amazon store but I hesitate doing so because the storage on the device
    is so limited and cloud is not accessible internationally.

    Before looking into file converters to make non Amazon obtained videos
    kindle fire
    compatible I would like to stay within the Amazon ecosystem that I find very
    convenient and user friendly.

    So could you enlighten me about all the possibilities of purchasing videos,
    and I know I am repeating myself,
    from Amazon, backing them on external storage and later playing them on the
    device they were bought for ?

    And this is the answer I received from them (a prompt and courteous answer
    as always):

    Hello,
    I’m sorry but currently, Amazon Instant Videos cannot be transferred via
    USB.
    All Amazon Instant Videos must be downloaded to your Kindle by tapping
    Download within the Video application. Click here for instructions.
    Personal videos are not supported within the Video content library on your
    Kindle Fire.
    Reference:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_200729630_transfer?nodeId=200729630#transfer

    Thanks for writing us regarding your requirement. Customer feedback like
    yours helps us continue to improve the service we provide, and we’re glad
    you took time to write to us.
    I’ll be sure to forward your comments to the Kindle Team as they will
    carefully review your comments which would help us improve our service to
    customers.

    I’m sorry but I didn’t have any better news. We look forward to seeing you
    again soon.

    Did I solve your problem?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Andre!

      First, let me say that I’m very impressed with your English! I don’t think that’s the issue here.

      Second, thank you also for your kind words! Do you mind if I quote them?

      Third, I think they might have been confused, but I haven’t tested it. I’ll see if I can do that for you. I think, and again, this would not be due to the way you explained it, that they thought you wanted to download movies to a computer when you purchased them, and then “sideload” them to the Kindle Fire.

      My understanding is that you want to download them to the Fire when you purchase them, sideload them to a computer, remove them from the Fire, and later put the file back on the Fire from the computer and watch them on the Fire.

      Let me give that a try with one of my files and we’ll see what happens.

      Update: Well, I’m sorry to say it didn’t work. :( I moved one of my downloaded video files from my Fire to my computer. I removed the file from the Fire. I put it back on the Fire. The Kindle Fire wouldn’t recognize it…even after a restart. Oddly, I couldn’t even locate it on the Kindle using ES File Explorer.

      I removed the file again (using Wi-Fi File Explorer…that’s what I had used earlier to move the file). I downloaded it again from the Cloud on the Fire: it worked again.

      As to motivations: they aren’t trying to prevent people from buying things. They need to uphold their agreements with the publishers…or they could face legal action and withdrawal of content, which would lose them a lot more money than sales to a single customer.

      Since the Kindle Fire is currently being sold and marketed for use in the USA, I think this is something which may be overcome for international use later.

  7. George Evans Says:

    Mr. Calvin,

    I love reading your blog! Why is it I can get your blog for free on my new Fire but I pay on my Kindle Keyboard? I will keep paying because I want to support you but why is one charged ad another free?

    Have you noticed any drops in paid subscriptions since the release of Fire?

    George Evans
    Newport News, VA

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, George!

      I really appreciate that you are a subscriber!

      I’d love to see blog subscriptions offered on the Kindle Fire, but Amazon has not elected to do that. Generally, they haven’t allowed blog subscriptions on the reader apps, and the Kindle Fire is sort of built off that. I suspect that with the exception of those us who are top sellers, Amazon may not make money offering the 13,462 blots and news feeds they have right now.

      My guess is that many bloggers primarily make their money through advertising. I’ve always been proud that my blog income comes mostly from subscribers like you. :)

      As to your last question…I haven’t particularly noticed that yet. The Kindle Fire hasn’t been out very long, though. It’s possible that will change. On the other hand, a lot of non-Fires were sold this season…so if I did lose subscribers because they canceled and went with the Fire, I might make it up on new RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) owners.

      I will keep my eye on that, though.

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