The Kindle Fire's First Major Update Should Give It Some Zip (Updated)

Amazon's shooting back at its critics (and shooting help at its users!) with the Kindle Fire's first software update. It's free, available over the air or via download—right now.

According to Amazon, the 182 MB update "enhances fluidity and performance, improves touch navigation responsiveness, gives you the option to choose which items display on the carousel, and adds the ability to add a password lock on Wi-Fi access."

Those first two points are the big ones—the Fire's detractors have piled on to its perceived lagginess. So, give it a shot—but note that Amazon says you'll need a full battery charge to complete the update over wireless, if that's your bag. [Amazon]

Update: This update process is somewhat of a pain in the ass! Fully charging your Fire is unnecessary, and the manual download process is convoluted. If you want to dodge Wi-Fi, you'll need to drag a .bin file into a folder within the Kindle after you mount it on your computer as an external drive. Then you have to go to settings and hit update. But only if your battery's full!

Update 2: Contrary to Amazon's documentation, the Fire only needs a 40% charge before installing the update. Phew!

Update 3: Amazon got in touch to say the pains of dragging and dropping shouldn't be an issue for most: "For customers, the update will be delivered automatically in the background...and will be applied once download is complete and the device is asleep." Still, you might need to charge that battery before it works.