Kindle Fire Web Browser ('Silk') user interface redesigned with unique readability and more speed
The Kindle Forum announcement is titled, "Silk Update for Kindle Fire 2nd Generation, Kindle Fire HD 7", Kindle Fire HD 8.9"" so apparently this update doesn't pertain to the original Kindle Fire tablet first sold in 2011.
(Sad added note: I spent about 4 hours updating this blog entry to add information, explanations, and special tips to help with confusion I saw in forums from some who felt they had lost a lot of features which have been moved to different areas. The updated draft was automatically saved, but then I did a manual Save again on the WRONG browser tab for this blog and lost all that work.
Was not home Sunday, must be out for the day Monday and will redo the additions late Monday.
I first read about the web browser changes in the news Friday morning but there was no evidence of changes on my Kindle Fire HD 8.9" tablet, and early reports on the main forum were that Amazon's 'Silk' web browser blog had just announced the changes and was doubling as a tutorial on the new look and more intuitive navigation (although some users miss the 'Starter' page).
For me, the browser changes seemed to come in increments on my Kindle Fire, and owners reported, early Friday, different experiences with the layout. For instance, I had most of the changes described below in the Kindle Forum announcement (bold-faced emphases in it are mine) but did not have the top-left web-menu, which came in as a part of the changes later that night.
Apparently, the groundwork was laid with software version [x].4.6 just received in the last week or so.
Here is the forum announcement, which is essentially an introduction to the blog-tutorial page which gives much more detail, with screen captures.
' What's New?
*Brand new look for Silk - The Silk browser is now better, faster, and easier to navigate.
*Removal of the Starter page - When you open the Silk browser for the first time, you'll see the Most Visited page. From here, you can tap a website you view the most to visit it, or tap the Address Bar to find a website.
*User interface enhancements - Create up to ten tabs for easy tabbed browsing within the Silk browser. With enhanced Reading View, you can read the web page in a single-screen format that is optimized for reading by removing most graphics, advertisement, or links from the web page.
*New left panel navigation - Use the Left Navigation Panel to access your saved websites, browser history, and downloads from Silk.
*Other performance enhancements.
If you need assistance with this update, head over to the Kindle Help Community. '
That "enhanced Reading View" is terrific. First, the Reading View alert or icon is now impossible to miss, being highlighted in green alongside the URL or Location Field at the top of the page.
NOTE: The green Reading View icon doesn't show up until the page is completely loaded, as the software apparently analyzes, where possible, which space with text constitutes a key article you might want to read in larger font and without all the ads and what the developers may decide are distracting links that are inserted (to other articles) and not essential to the article text.
CAVEAT: While the new browser is very smart, it doesn't work well with some pages. The new Reading View isn't able to analyze correctly some Google-based blog pages (some Blogger and Blogspot.com sites) such as the one you're reading, in either Desktop or Mobile mode when there are dual columns -- one of which is a persistent site-oriented webpage column that is not part of an article.
With most of the blog articles in A Kindle World, the text-focused Reading View can't differentiate between the article body and the blog title header, and it misses 80-90% of the actual text of the article while grabbing info from a side-column.
Even if choosing the Kindle Fire's "Mobile" web-browsing View (see the general tablet-Menu's new "Request another view" option which is great to have while viewing a webpage), the Mobile view doesn't work on this Blogspot site yet.**
What's odd is that the earlier version of Reading View WAS able to read individual Kindleworld articles correctly, identifying and showing just an article's content.
** Workaround for this blog:
For tablet/phone reading of A Kindle World, use the following link:
so that Google-Blogspot gives you the Mobile version. You tap on an article's Title to get the individual article's text, and it's VERY readable.
Ignore the Reading View icon in this case, where you're already in a customized mobile-device-optimized version of the blog.
I'll write Silk Team feedback on this. It does well with most websites.
That caveat aside, I now enjoy this browser more than the various ones I've tried on any of my tablets, with the exception that the Dolphin browser used with an old Adobe Flash Player works best for sites with Flash video for now.
ANOTHER key improvement in Reading View is the ability to change the font size used. The earlier browser version was a fixed-sized font that generally was still too small for me to read comfortably so I chose to use another browser that would allow me to change the font size while getting good word wrap on that. Now I'll likely choose Silk browser more often to read articles (and will chooseFF the Dolphin browser when I want to see a web Flash video that might not be compatible with Silk's new, experimental streaming viewer yet).
To get options while in Reading View
To get the font options (as well as full/not-full screen and tablet-menu options), press the "||" icon visible at the right edge when in Landscape mode or at the bottom of screen when in Portrait mode.
Not only can you change the font size to your liking when in Reading View, you now have additional background color options. As with Kindle books or magazine article-text views, the Reading View mode allows you to view the website article text in Sepia (easier for some readers' eyes) or in white text against black AND even to choose Left alignment (with nicely raggedy right-edges and no big gaps in text spacing or instead choose Right-justified text. There are also margin adjustments.
REMINDER: If you'd rather read an article in original layout mode while viewing the surrounding material, you can double tap on the text to get a fixed larger font size, which sometimes will be enough.
The Silk Team ends their blog tutorial with, "Our goal is continuous improvement. With that in mind, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of Silk. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org."
ID-numbers on my tablets for this Silk update.
Because my Silk changes seemed incremental, with some of it not matching the tutorial at first, I took a look at the Settings to check for any ID numbers. Below is what I found after my updates were complete and the browser layout finally fully matched the tutorial.
Another Note: I'm also assuming that our tablets should have the latest Kindle Fire 2nd Gen software update [x].4.6 released recently.
. Lightly tap on "Applications"
. Tap "Apps" to get "App Settings"
. On "Version and Release Notes"
. I tapped on "App version release-6.1000.512.47A_622704710" to see:
Last Updated: [Recent date] (1.0.988.1)
SILK settings (mine)
. Lightly tap on "Applications"
. Tap "Installed Applications"
. Choose Filter by "All Applications"
. Go down to "Silk" and click on it
. You then see "Application Details" and, under that,
. "version 18.104.22.1683-Gen5_34034610" (in my case, for both 7" and 8.9")
Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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