Kindle Fire 6.3 Update Adds Sharing, Book Extras, Silk Browser Improvements, and More

At this time, Kindle Fire owners should be well on their way to downloading the newest update to their device’s firmware.  It began rolling out on Wednesday, but it usually takes two or three days for everybody to notice these given the way Amazon rolls them out.

This update brings a few features to the Kindle Fire that improve large portions of the user experience.  The WiFi connection seems to be more stable now and restores itself more quickly after the device wakes up.  Overall the whole UI seems somewhat smoother and faster now.  More than that, specific uses for the device have been fixed up.

Movie rentals through Amazon now actually make sense thanks to this update.  Rather than starting the rental period as the download for the media begins, Kindle Fire owners who rent will now begin their period when the first instance of playback takes place.  This should eliminate a number of complications that have seemingly caused the service trouble in catching on with customers.

The reading experience in general got an even more thorough look.  It is now possible to use sharing through the Kindle Fire just like they can when using Kindle eReaders.  There is definitely some appeal to many in being able to make the reading experience a publicly engaging one through Facebook and Twitter.

Book Extras, an integration of Shelfari much like the Kindle Touch’s X-Ray feature, are also accessible now.  This allows for a quick look at characters, locations, glossaries, and many other bits of information that may come in handy while reading.  It’s an especially handy tool for students, in many ways.

In another nod to students, Amazon is now making it possible to access what they are calling “print replica textbooks”.  These will basically be the equivalent of PDF texts that have been optimized for the Kindle platform.  It isn’t exactly a step forward for the eReading experience, but it will allow for greater compatibility between paper and digital texts and should encourage classroom use of the Kindle Fire as a result.

Probably the most important addition for many people will be the update to the Kindle’s Silk browser that adds in “Reading View”.  By clicking on the icon shaped like reading glasses in any Silk tab’s menu, you can do away with ads, images, formatting, and everything else that gets in the way of the text.  Browsing news sites and blogs is far more pleasant now and the ability to resize and reflow the text in this mode doesn’t hurt either.

If you have not yet received the option to automatically download Kindle Fire firmware v6.3, there are a couple things to try.  First, make sure you are fully charged and do a full reboot by holding the power button down until the option to shut down is given.  After loading the system up again, select “Sync” from the menu bar.  If this does not work, check out Amazon’s update page and download the update manually.  Just move the file to the Kindle Fire’s base directory, reboot again, and everything should happen automatically.