Amazon released three new tablets in 2015 and they are about to get some critical upgrades that will make them more kid friendly and also provide a robust new e-reading experience.
Starting today and over the next couple of weeks, Fire HD 10, Fire HD 8, and Fire tablets will receive a free, over-the-air software update that will add several new Fire OS 5 “Bellini” features, including:
Introducing Blue Shade – Read Comfortably at Night
Want to read that last chapter from the comfort of your bed? Simply turn on Blue Shade, an exclusive new Amazon feature that works behind the scenes to adjust and optimize the display on Fire tablets for a more comfortable nighttime reading experience. Studies have shown that evening exposure to blue light from tablets may suppress our bodies’ production of melatonin, which can prolong the time it takes to fall asleep, delay REM sleep, and reduce the level of alertness the next morning. Blue Shade uses specialized filters to limit exposure to blue light. It also offers warm color filters and the ability to lower the display brightness to an ultra-low level for comfortable nighttime reading—even in a dark room. The feature can be easily turned on or off with a single tap on the Blue Shade quick setting. Customers can also fine-tune the color settings to their personal preference, with the device intelligently adjusting the color filtering so that at any color or brightness, the blue wavelength light is always suppressed.
Activity Center—More Tools for Parents
For parents with kids who have outgrown Amazon FreeTime but are not yet ready to be without parental controls, Activity Center provides an easy way for parents to see how their kids are spending time on their tablet. When Activity Center is enabled, parents can visit a customized, secure page on their smartphone, tablet, or computer to review how much time their kids spend playing games, watching videos, and reading. Parents can also choose to view browser history via Activity Center in order to understand what sites their kids are visiting on the Internet, or can look at which specific apps, books, or videos their kids accessed.
Kid-Friendly Web Browser
Amazon FreeTime, the innovative parental controls that encourage learning before play and that help manage kids’ screen time, is now even better with a kid-friendly web browser that provides kids with controlled access to more than 40,000 hand-curated, age-appropriate YouTube videos and websites. Once parents turn this feature on, kids can dive into the content immediately with no additional set up or extra costs. Websites are selected using a combination of the expertise of Common Sense Media and Amazon experts—every website and video is reviewed by the Amazon FreeTime team to ensure it is appropriate for kids. Parents can also add additional websites if they choose to. The new web browser is available in Amazon FreeTime on Fire tablets, including Fire Kids Edition.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.