May 7th, 2015

amazon-fire-phone-books

Amazon Fire Phone owners might not be a plentiful bunch, but those who are rocking the phone as proud as can be will be happy to know a new upgrade is headed your way. The upgrade brings Fire OS’s base platform version up to Android 4.4 KitKat.

It sounds a bit silly to get excited about KitKat when Lollipop is out, but you have to remember that Fire OS is a completely independent platform that Amazon customizes to the bone. Having KitKat vs Lollipop wouldn’t stand to make much of a difference if Amazon is going to customize them to have exactly the same base functionality.

Along with the more recent version of Android, there are over 10 new features on tap. Here’s what to expect:

  • Support for Bluetooth Low Energy: Fire phone now supports Bluetooth Low Energy technology. To learn more, go to Connect to Bluetooth.
  • Change the wallpaper on the Home screen: You can now change the Home screen wallpaper to a different color or use your own image. To learn more, go to Change the Home Screen Wallpaper.
  • Lock screen notification improvements: View previews of new notifications on the lock screen and manage which apps can show previews on the lock screen. To learn more, go to View & Manage Notifications.
  • Additional keyboard options: Amazon’s keyboard now includes color emoji. Choose from hundreds of emoji characters to make your e-mail and multimedia messages fun and personal. You can also change the default keyboard on your Fire phone with another compatible keyboard downloaded from the Amazon Appstore. To learn more, go to Customize Your Language & Keyboard.
  • Convert video clips into lenticular images and set HDR to auto: Record video clips and automatically convert them into a lenticular image to share with others or use on the lock screen. With HDR turned to auto, your phone’s camera also determines whether a scene needs HDR and captures it to create a rich, detailed image. To learn more, go to Take Photos & Personal Videos.
  • Smarter calling options: Manage up to five people on a conference call, delete all previous calls in your history, and more. To learn more, go to Make & Receive Phone Calls.
  • Messaging improvements: Delete or forward multiple messages in a conversation, swipe to delete conversations in your Inbox, and modify your messaging settings with new options, such as the ability to change the text size of your messages. To learn more, go to Send, Read & Manage Messages.
  • Choose different colors for calendar events: If you have multiple e-mail accounts synced with your phone, you can assign a color for each account. When you select a new color for an account, your calendar events appear in that color. To learn more, go to General Settings for Email, Contacts, and Calendar.
  • Print from your Fire phone: You can now print personal documents, e-mails, contact details, and calendar events from your Fire phone to your compatible HP, Epson, or Canon printers. To learn more, go to Print From Your Fire Phone.
  • Enhanced enterprise features: With support for secure work Wi-Fi networks, single sign-on for corporate networks, and AES-256 bit hardware encryption, your Fire phone is ready for more work. To learn more, go to Protect Your Fire Phone with Encryption and Set Up a VPN.
  • Accessibility improvements: Easily manage your closed caption settings across the device and enjoy new Screen Reader features—such as independent volume controls and faster reading speed options—when you use the accessibility options on your Fire phone. To learn more, go to Accessibility Features.
  • Bug fixes and user interface improvements: Dozens of other bug fixes and user interface improvements.’

You can find instructions on how to get your phone updated to the latest version — which is Fire OS 4.6.1right here. And if you’re somehow in the market for one don’t forget you can always buy them pretty cheap from Amazon’s online storefront.

[via Amazon]

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