Amazon Releases a Partial Fix for Kindle Fire Bugs

As promised, Amazon has given Kindle users an update to fix some (not all) of the tablet's issues. 

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As promised, Amazon has given Kindle users an update to fix some (not all) of the tablet's issues. After the Kindle's mid-November debut, owners quickly discovered the budget tablet's many short-comings. It promised a fix in less than two weeks. A week later we have a partial solution.

Problems the Update Fixes

Sluggish performance plagued fresh-out-of-the-box tablets. But the new update fixes some of the slow browser issues, says The New York Times's David Pogue, who noted the jerky experience when he first reviewed the tablet. He now reports the carousel -- the virtual shelf for content -- "stops on a dime when you want it," things open with just one tap, the whole tap process is faser, and smoother page turns. In general the whole thing works faster, users told PCWorld's  Daniel Ionescu.

Others took issue with the Kindle's privacy settings. Parents reported concern with having their children (or significant others) seeing all of the tablet's content right-up front in the carousel. The new update gives these sneaky folk the ablity to hide content deep within the tablet, rather than showcase it all on the home screen. And, as for the issue of children racking up bills on their parents' Kindles: Amazon has no added a password lock for WiFi access.

Amazon doesn't mention any WiFi fixes -- a particularly annoying issue for a device that only runs on WiFi. But we hear the software update does the trick.

Problems the Update Does Not Fix

Though Amazon has added privacy options, with password protection, the update doesn't address all of parental concerns. Some had reported that kids could stumble across raunchy material pretty easily. Amazon does let users set a PIN for in-app purchases. But the new update doesn't make that a device-wide option.

Overall, Pogue and other report a speedier experience. Yet, Pogue still complains that magazine reading still doesn't deliver. "Magazine reading is still an exercise in frustration," he writes.  "Far too often, the row of page-navigation thumbnails still thrusts itself on top of what you’re trying to read. " Considering Amazon hopes to make bank on selling things like magazines, it might consider that for its next iteration.

Then, there are the hardware issues -- the fat finger problem, the on/off switch -- things a software update can't fix.

We hear the update process is cumbersome and complicated. Ionescu explains the process:

To update your Kindle Fire, Amazon advises to ensure your battery is fully charged and that you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. You then tap the Quick Settings icon in the upper right corner and then "Sync." Next, a new notification will appear in the upper left hand corner of the drop down notification bar. Select "update" and the 6.2.1 update will automatically download in the background and will be applied when the device is asleep. Amazon also has a set of instructions to install the software manually.

For manual update, users will need a USB cable, Gizmodo's Sam Biddle explains that (annoying-sounding) process:

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! 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.