David Pogue On The Kindle Fire's Latest Update

David Pogue:

Tuesday evening, Amazon released a free software update for the Kindle Fire that, if you ask me, should be called the Polish Update (that’s “polish” as in car wax, not Warsaw). Its primary purpose is to fix all of those jerky, balky, miscalculated-momentum issues. The update will be automatically delivered to your Kindle Fire.

Sure enough: the home screen “carousel,” a rotating shelf that holds all of your books, magazines and movies, now stops on a dime when you want it to. It takes only one tap to open something instead of several frustrating ones. When you do tap something, it opens faster and more fluidly. Page turns are smoother, especially in magazines.

There are a couple of tiny new features, too; for example, now you can choose which things you want on that carousel; you just hold your finger down on a thumbnail and choose Hide Item from the shortcut menu.

Pogue goes on to note that there are some lingering issues, as you'd expect, but his perception of the update is largely positive.

The software correction of some of the Fire's teething glitches has been expected for quite some time, and it's good to hear that Amazon has responded with relative pace to its users' feedback (just in time for Christmas too).

I imagine Amazon's sophomore effort will be a mature contender against the iPad, rather than a repackaged PlayBook with access to the Amazon ecosystem. Establishing a history of responsive updates, and an inclination toward ensuring a good user experience will go a long way in selling that product if/when it arrives.