Thursday, June 12, 2014

Kindle Fire HDX and HD2 Tips: Software updates (possibly strengthening WiFi connections) for the Kindle Fire tablets are here - v11., v13., and v14. Update: Software updates include Prime Music feature.

Amazon has set a software update to go directly to the current line of Kindle Fire tablets -- I see that mine was received and installed June 6.  It was done without my realizing it.  This will be true for most owners of these tablets.

From my reading of forums, it looks as if this update may help some who have reported problems with staying connected to their WiFi networks.  And Amazon sent an email just now that says the Kindle Fire updates include the Prime Music feature.  Otherwise, the Update pages said merely:

    "The software update includes general improvements and performance enhancements."

General instructions from Amazon's help pages

     To Download & Install Software Updates Automatically

Sync your Kindle Fire HD 2nd Generation, or Kindle Fire HDX 7", or Kindle Fire HD 8.9" to download the latest software update automatically.  
Your Kindle Fire needs to be fully charged and connected to a Wi-Fi network before you can download the software update.
  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Quick Settings, and then tap Settings.
  2. Tap Device, and then tap System Updates.
  3. Tap Check Now. If an update is available, your Kindle Fire will automatically download the update.
  4. After you download the update, tap Update.
Your Kindle Fire will restart during the software update. After the restart, the message "Installing system update" will appear on the screen.

However, some who haven't received an update yet may want to download and install these manually rather than wait for the automatic update.  They'll need to determine which software version is on the device...
  • Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Quick Settings, and then tap Settings.

  • Tap Device, and then tap System Updates.  If you have the latest software update, it should look like this: [if for Kindle Fire HD 7" 2nd Gen tablet, in this case]

  • Here are the Current and Latest Update versions (June 2014)
      and the Update pages for those wanting or needing to manually install the updates:

      Kindle Fire HD 7" 2nd Gen - Update page

      Kindle Fire HDX 7" - Update page

      Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - Update page

    Coming up next: Amazon goes Amazon Prime Music

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    1. This update does not enable Prime Music, unless it is a switch they throw on a server somewhere (which would be strange). I got the update a week or two ago and have noticed no difference. The email says 'will get'. Again the irony: Fire users are the last to be able to get the the thing. As this other 'stability' update just dropped, it doesn't seem likely there will be another one for Fire for at least a couple of weeks.

      1. Tom, as you and I both found out, the update does enable it, but not as cleanly as described in Amazon's press release. I followed ZDNet's original alert done the night before and the trick is to access via web (Silk) first (and I did this after powering off but the latter didn't cause it to work until I accessed Cloud music via web...

    2. That's weird it is working now on my Fire. The first time I checked, nothing new was there.

      1. Tom - Yes, I'm going to do a short writeup on the steps that made it work for me on the Fire...

      2. I guess 1st gen Fires are (once again) left behind on this. But I'm going to check anyway...

      3. Amazon adds a lot of creative features that need all kinds of synchronization across devices and tricks under the hood to speed up some functions by temporarily disabling or minimizing other processing. I think that makes it tricky to support old hardware and different modes of programming between the crews. There's a lot of staff time spent making things work on other devices (Apple avoids that) and B&N were never great on adding interesting features...

    3. So it looks like they fixed a couple of annoying TTS bugs: 1) many books would ignore the default voice set in Language and Keyboard settings, and always use US-English, now the default is always respected, 2) TTS would sometimes stop when there was an image encountered (or for no apparent reason), and there were problems resuming playback afterwards, have not had this happen since the update.

      I'm not sure when this got put in but there is now a black text-on-light green reading theme. I find I like it...

      1. Tom, good to know about the TTS bug fixes ! I'll have to start using it (as i USED to with the eInk readers. The new background color thing sounds good too. I usually use Sepia for any reading on the tablet but like very-light green with dark text. Thanks!

        Getting ready to see what Amazon is coming up with today. Think I'll start an entry and update it through the day.


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