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Thursday December 22, 2011 9:19 am

Amazon Kindle Fire 6.2.1 update review

Amazon has released its newest update for the Kindle Fire and it has some tweaks many users will find welcome, and one tweak power users will hate.

I've been using my Kindle Fire since it came out, and while I'm still waiting for CyanogenMod9 to come out and let me actually put Ice Cream Sandwich on my Kindle Fire, I've been relatively happy with the performance.

The main interface tweak added to the Kindle Fire is the ability to remove items from the carousel on the home page. This is a small but useful way to keep your most commonly used apps organized and, if necessary, make sure other users don't see whatever naughty things you might have been perusing.

That's the only change to the main screen; you still can't organize your apps into categories or customize your menu beyond adding and removing items from favorites and the carousel. I use my Kindle Fire for several different things, and it would be great to organize my apps by categories like Online Content, Books, Network Tools, and Games. The Fire still has Amazon's default seven tabs and single app list organized alphabetically or by date.

The other "major" change is the ability to lock Wi-Fi, which can be very useful if you have kids. You can do this under the "Restrictions" menu by selecting "Enable Restrictions" and entering a password. Since the menu is called "Restrictions" and isn't a setting under the Wi-Fi menu, it looks like Amazon is making room for other parental controls in the future.

Besides the interface changes, the Kindle Fire has gotten a subtle performance increase. After the update, the Kindle Fire felt smoother to handle when browsing Web sites or reading magazines. The carousel on the home page also felt slightly less slippery, though I still accidentally flipped over to the next item on the carousel instead of loading the app occasionally. The touch screen generally seems more responsive, which fixes one of my biggest complaints about the tablet. It still isn't as fast or as smooth as the iPad, which is another of the bigger issues with it.

According to other reports, the update prevents you from rooting your Kindle Fire with one-click rooting apps. This includes programs like SuperOneClick and Kindle Fire Utility, which means installing custom ROMs on the Kindle Fire could be awkward in the future. We'll see if developers can break through this new restriction and let users install their own ROMs on the Kindle Fire.

For more, see our Kindle Fire video review.

This article, written by Will Greenwald, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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