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Amazon Kindle Fire Update Promises Usability Improvements, Coming Within Two Weeks

Kindle Fire owners frustrated with the device's flaws should receive some relief within a couple of weeks. Amazon is expected to release an over-the-air update for the tablet that will reportedly improve its much-maligned interface and web-browsing speeds, according to The New York Times.

Last month, we reported that the Fire's Silk web browser, which is partially powered by Amazon's EC2 cloud computing cluster, was 25 percent slower when its web acceleration feature was turned on. Now it looks like Amazon is indirectly copping to that fact through its impending update. Also expected to be addressed through the update are the Fire's privacy issues. The tablet currently displays the last website you visited on its home screen, giving other users easy accesses to your surfing habits.

According to the Times' report, the update, which is expected to go out in the next two weeks (just in time for the holidays), will improve the responsiveness of the Fire's user interface, speed up page-load times, and allow users to edit their list of recently viewed items. What the New York Times piece doesn't say is whether Amazon will let users set a password or PIN for purchases. The Fire's lack of parental controls is a huge issue.

If you'd rather not wait two weeks for the update, we have complete instructions for hiding your your browsing habits and disabling the Fire's web acceleration, which our tests have shown improves web page-load times. If Amazon manages to make the needed improvements that users are seeking, it may be able to salvage the Fire's image. If not, the tablet's sales could stall.

via The New York Times

A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.