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Latest update makes Amazon’s Fire phone slightly more usable than before

August 19th, 2014 at 5:30 PM
Amazon Fire Phone Update

The Internet has not been kind to Amazon’s first foray into the smartphone market. The ironically named Fire phone has received a frigid response from consumers, failing to make any significant impact on the sales charts and prompting some very harsh comparisons from BGR, but the first major software update from Amazon might begin to repair the phone’s already badly damaged reputation.

Many of the new features added in Fire OS 3.5.1 are substantial, but it’s also hard to imagine how Amazon shipped the Fire phone without including them in the first place. First up is Quick Switch, the Fire phone’s version of multitasking. By double-tapping the home button, Fire phone users can pull up a menu which will allow them to quickly switch between or close recently opened apps.

Other additions include App Grid Collections (folders), the ability to pin apps to the home carousel, deleting emails from the home screen and improved battery life. If you own a Fire phone, you should have already received the update, but the full list of improvements (and instructions on how to install Fire OS 3.5.1) follow below.

The latest software version is Fire OS 3.5.1 (111009920).

The software version includes new and enhanced features:

  • Quick SwitchWith a double-press on the home button, Quick Switch allows you to easily alternate between or shut down running apps and tasks. To learn how to use Quick Switch, go to Switch Between and Close Recent Apps.
  • App Grid CollectionsCreate folders of apps or content right on the app grid. To learn how to use Collections, go toNavigate Your Fire Phone.
  • Carousel PinningPin your favorite apps to the front of the home carousel. To learn how, go to Navigate Your Fire Phone.
  • 11 Frame Lenticular PhotosCreate Lenticular photos using 11 still images instead of 3. To learn how, go to Take Photos & Personal Videos.
  • Enhanced Carousel E-mailDelete e-mails directly from the home screen. To learn how, go to Email Basics.
  • Improved Video SharingShare high-resolution videos via MMS or e-mail. To learn how, go to View Edit & Share Photos.
  • Improved Battery LifeDozens of system updates for enhanced battery performance. To learn more about optimizing battery life, go to Conserve Battery Life.

To determine the current software version on your device:

  1. From the Home screen, swipe down from the top of the screen (or swivel your phone) to open theQuick Actions panel.
  2. Tap the Settings icon, and then tap Device > Install system updates. You will see the current software version.

To check if an update is available from your device:

  1. From the Home screen, swipe down from the top of the screen (or swivel your phone) to open theQuick Actions panel.
  2. Select the Settings icon, and then tap Device > Install system updates > Check Now. Fire phone will download the latest software update if it’s available.
  3. After the download is complete, select Install System Update to install the update immediately. Your device will restart during the software update.

To manually download and transfer the latest software version via USB:

Note: Before you begin, follow the steps above to determine the current software version on your device, since you may already have the latest version.

  1. Click Download Fire OS 3.5.1 to download the latest software version to your computer.
  2. Transfer the software update file to your Fire phone:
    1. Connect your Fire phone to your computer using the included USB cable.
    2. If you have a lock screen set, unlock your phone so it can be accessed by your computer.
    3. Open the Fire folder, and then drag and drop the software update file into the Internal storage folder.
  3. After the file transfer is complete, disconnect the USB cable from your Fire phone and your computer.
  4. Swipe down from the top of the screen (or swivel your phone) to open the Quick Actions panel, tap Device, and then tap Install System Update. Your device will restart during the software update.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.

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