Kindle Fire Updated to Version 6.2.1December 20, 2011
Amidst complaints about privacy and parental controls for the Kindle Fire, Amazon has pushed out an update to version 6.2.1. This is the third update to Amazon’s popular tablet device since its initial release, and this latest update represents the most substantial update yet. Here’s a recap of what you’ll find in the latest version of the Kindle Fire.
Restrictions (Parental Controls)
Prior to version 6.2.1, there was no way to prevent someone using your Kindle Fire from purchasing videos, apps, or music and charging it your credit card on file with Amazon. The latest firmware adds a new feature called Restrictions in order to address this problem. The Restrictions feature allows you to disable the Wi-Fi connection on your Kindle Fire and require a password to re-enable it.
Here’s the way Restrictions works. From the Settings screen (accessible by tapping the Quick Options icon and then the More icon), tap Restrictions. Once you do, tap On next to Enable Retrictions to enable it. You’ll be prompted to set a password (assuming you haven’t set one previously), and after doing so, Wi-Fi will be disabled on your Kindle Fire. In order to turn Wi-Fi back on, you’ll have to enter your password.
Will this capability silence the critics regarding parental controls on the Kindle Fire? I doubt it. There are a few problems with the way that Amazon implemented this feature. First of all, if you want to let your kids watch a video on your Kindle Fire, you’ll have to download the video to your device first. The current implementation also prevents kids from using any app that needs Internet access. I would have preferred to see Amazon allow me to configure my Kindle Fire so that purchasing anything requires the entry of my Amazon.com password.
Memory Status Display
Amazon also improved the information that is available when viewing the Device settings. Your Kindle Fire’s memory has always been broken out into approximately 5.25GB for storing content and 1.25GB for storing apps. However, there was previously no way to determine how much of each of these memory pools you had used. After installing version 6.2.1, you’ll see additional information in Device settings that make it easy to determine how much of each pool you’ve used and how much is remaining.
It’s likely that many users will be surprised to see that Amazon allocated such a small chunk of memory to app storage. I have 32 apps installed on my Kindle Fire, and I’ve used about half of the memory allocated for app storage. Keep in mind that not all apps use the same amount of memory.
The Carousel is a cover-flow style view of your books and other content. However, if you open a web page, a snapshot of that page is saved to your Carousel. If you watch a video, cover art for the video is saved to your Carousel. Kindle Fire users complained about the inability to remove items from the Carousel from day one, and Amazon has addressed those complaints in version 6.2.1. You can now remove an item from the Carousel easily.
To remove an item from the Carousel, tap and hold on the item and then tap Remove from Carousel. This is a nice feature to have, but it would have been far better to allow users to choose not to ever save web pages, videos, or other specific content types to the Carousel. As it stands, you’ll need to remove each item individually. There isn’t a way to prevent something from being added to the Carousel in the first place.
Amazon hasn’t posted information regarding all of the details included in 6.2.1, but many users report that performance seems better. Performance does seem better, and the keyboard seems to be less prone to typos caused by the oversensitivity of the keys. What do you think? Does 6.2.1 seem to perform better? Have you found other changes that I haven’t highlighted? Leave a comment and let me know!