Kindle Fire update: smooth but not snappy

Amazon’s Kindle Fire update hit devices Wednesday, with promises of faster Web performance, better privacy and a more responsive touchscreen.

So how did it match up? The updated device did immediately and noticeably respond better to the touch, with few of the lags that had bothered buyers in previous versions of the software.

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The update also fixes a privacy pet peeve that had some consumers upset — Kindle Fire owners now have the opportunity to edit their activity histories in the carousel. Just hold your finger on the item you want to delete and you will have the option to remove it from your recent history. The update also adds the option of requiring a password to enable the WiFi connection as a way to prevent unauthorized purchases by young children or others picking up the device.

The update did little to improve the speed of the Kindle Fire’s Web browser, however. Slow Web browsing has been a common complaint among Kindle Fire owners. The update has made browsing a bit faster on the review Kindle Fire I received from Amazon, but not as fast as other tablets on the same network.

Wired’s Jon Phillips found the same thing on his device, though he records speeds on the Fire that are much, much slower than anything I’ve experienced.

“I’m no longer seeing page loads that take three times longer,” Phillips wrote, “but the performance delta still ranges from ‘noticeable’ to some 200 percent.”

The Fire, of course, is still a work in progress, and Amazon was definitely smart to push out the improvements ahead of the holidays and on the last day of its free shipping offer. Fire owners can install the update either over the air by using the “Sync” function in their settings or by heading to Amazon’s Web site, downloading the update and transferring it to their tablets though a USB cable.

Related stories:

Amazon offers free shipping on Kindle Fire

The Verge: Kindle Fire tablet to get software updates

VentureBeat: Amazon’s Kindle Fire software update is out; will fix touchscreen issues

 
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