The Kindle Fire Update: Everything That Was Bad Is Better

Illustration for article titled The Kindle Fire Update: Everything That Was Bad Is Better

Amazon dropped the anticipated and somewhat clamored for first update to its Fire. The bad news: it's a bit of a pain in the ass to install. The good news: it's completely worth it. The entire tablet feels energized.


When I reviewed it at launch, my main beef with the Kindle Fire was its occasional lag and choppiness—it was still a great machine, but one that was importantly short of the iPad's smoothness. With the 6.2.1 OS update, that's largely been fixed.

Pages turn faster. The main shelf menu is completely smooth and crisp to the touch. Super-graphically rich mags move around much more nimbly, and images pinch-and-zoom with far less hesitation—the same can be said for image-rich websites in the Silk browser. The update also killed my biggest UI complaint—not being able to delete something from your main carousel of media. Now, tap, hold, and remove.

That said, it's not an iPad 2. It doesn't have iOS' touch grace. Maybe it never will. There's touch delay when scrubbing through hundreds of pages in a dense magazine (annoying!), and zooming on large, pretty images isn't flawless. But the Fire's screen is now smooth beyond the point of reasonable complaint, just in time for everyone who's giving and/or getting one for the holidays. If you still want an iPad's lovely touch perfection—and lovely it is—buy an iPad for $300 more.


I'm an Assistant Library Director, and I have been in the place of recommending tablets more than a few times a day recently. I do push the Kindle Fire pretty hard (I use Apple, myself) for anyone seeking more than just an e-reader, but here is the thing. If Amazon's updates are going to be a "pain in the ass" to install, it is already out of touch with a significant part of its user base.

Tablets are meant to be more user-friendly than PCs. Don't scare them off with arduous updates, Amazon.