Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, incl Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, TechSpot, ZDNet, and CNET. Stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Amazon today announced the release of Fire OS 3.1, which includes new features for its Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX devices. You can download the free update now directly from amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates or get it over-the-air automatically “in the coming weeks.”
First and foremost, Amazon has added Goodreads integration, which isn’t much of a surprise given the company’s acquisition of the social book site back in March. Amazon even teased Goodreads integration when it announced its new Kindle Paperwhite, so support for its other Kindle devices was definitely expected.
Because Goodreads is now part of the reading experience, there’s no need to leave a book and open the Goodreads app. Kindle owners can directly share favorite quotes with Goodreads friends from inside books, see what friends are reading via the Goodreads updates feed, add books to their want-to-read shelf, rate and review books they’ve finished, share books with Goodreads friends, as well as import all the print and Kindle books they’ve purchased from Amazon into their Goodreads account.
Next up, second screen sharing lets Kindle owners fling TV shows and movies from their tablet to their big-screen TV. In short, you can use your TV as the primary screen and your tablet for playback controls, a customized display for X-Ray, or simply a place to email, browse the Web, and so on while you watch. Amazon says the Second Screen feature is available for PlayStation 3 and Samsung TVs right now, and will be available “starting later this year” for the PlayStation 4.
The full Fire OS 3.1 changelog is as follows:
- Goodreads integration combines what Amazon emphasizes is the world’s largest e-reading community with the world’s largest community of book lovers.
- Second Screen lets you fling movies and TV shows from your tablet to your TV.
- New enterprise features make Kindle Fire tablets ready for work.
- Cloud Collections helps you organize your books, newspapers, magazines, and apps in customized collections for easy reference, and Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes the collections across your Kindle devices and reading apps so they’re available on all of your devices.
- Voice dictation converts your speech to text—available in all languages when online; offline support available in US English.
- 1-Tap archive which frees up space on your Kindle Fire by identifying items that have not been recently used and provides a 1-tap option to store them in the Cloud for later retrieval.
- Wireless printing of photos, PDF, emails, contacts, calendar, and documents.
- New accessibility enhancements that enable blind and visually impaired customers to save a separate accessibility profile for children in Kindle FreeTime, scroll lists automatically when swipe navigating, hear enhanced sound feedback and screen orientation changes announced, and have more control when editing text and navigating web content.
- Dozens more new features, performance and battery life improvements, and bug fixes.
The third point is worth expanding for business users. Fire OS 3.1 offers the ability to connect to secure enterprise Wi-Fi networks and access corporate apps, documents, resources like SharePoint, native VPN client for instant access to corporate networks, and a native Simple Certificate Exchange Protocol (SCEP) client to retrieve digital certificates for secure resources. Last but not least, Fire OS also now supports Kerberos authentication, which lets users browse secure Intranet websites from the Silk browser.
As you can see, this is a massive update that probably deserves more than just a minor version number bump. If it works like it says on the can, Fire OS 3.1 should make the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX much more intriguing.
Top Image credit: iStockphoto
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