Sunday, October 2, 2016

New kid friendly web browser in the FreeTime app

I recently noticed that Amazon added a new kid friendly browser in the FreeTime app, which gives access to age appropriate YouTube videos. Lack of official YouTube support has always been a problem with this tablet, so this is a nice addition to the tablet software.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Adding Google Services to the $50 Fire

If you're annoyed with the limitations of Fire OS on your Kindle Fire and want to try adding the Google Play store to the tablet, you can follow these instructions to set it up:

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

So, what does my daughter think of this tablet?

Just for haha's, I asked my daughter if she liked our old tablet (A Nexus 7) or the new Fire tablet better. She said that she liked the old tablet better because "We could talk to it".

Interesting answer! By "talk to it", I think that she was referring to Google Voice Search. Our old Android tablet had it, but the Amazon Fire does not.

Fascinating... even my 2 1/2 year old can notice that features are missing from this device. I guess that we'll be keeping the old Nexus 7 around, cracked screen and all.

On that disappointing note, I'm closing out my Kindle Fire review for now. Please leave me a comment on the blog if you have additional items that you would like me to review.

If you still want to buy one of these tablets (which might not be a bad idea if you're a Prime user), you might want to wait until Black Friday to get it. I noticed that Best Buy will have them on sale for $35 in the US.

You might also want to check out my free software blog here:

Monday, November 2, 2015

Amazon Freetime?

It looks like the slot machine ads have gone away... for now. I can only imagine what will come to replace them.

Some readers might be wondering why I haven't talked about the "kid friendly" Amazon Freetime profile on my daughter's tablet yet. I've tried it, but ran into several issues that prevent me from using it:

  1. I cannot give access to Firefox within Freetime, which is what I've been using to show YouTube videos to my daughter.
  2. I also do not seem to be able to give the Freetime profile access to videos that are not on Amazon. For an example, I copied two Disney movies to this tablet via USB. The Freetime profile does not see those videos. I cannot give my daughter's profile access to the Amazon Video player, and when I tried to give her access to MX Player (a wonderful video player app with a screen lock) instead, that player does not see the videos on the tablet.
  3. I've also had issues with some games like Frozen Free Fall failing to load when I attempt to launch them within Freetime. It seems to use up extra memory, which this tablet is already short on.
So, basically, Amazon Freetime turns the tablet into a brick for what my family is actually trying to use the tablet for.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Wow... the lock screen advertising is getting worse!

I've been noticing that Amazon lock screen advertising on my daughter's Kindle Fire is getting even more obnoxious. If the Game Of War ads weren't bad enough, now they are showing several slot machine game advertisements on the lock screen. An example is below:

This wasn't a lone occurrence, as I also got ads for "Viva Vegas Slots" and "Star Spins Slots" as well. I guess that Amazon decided that my 2 1/2 year old should get into gambling early. Not cool.

I found that you can remove the "objectionable" ads from the Offers application. Just go to Settings, and then turn the "Content Filtering" option. I'd just love to know why this isn't enabled by default when you have a children's profile enabled!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

So, how is the battery life on this tablet?

I'll bet that a lot of people are curious how good the battery life is on this Kindle Fire, so I decided to do a "real life" battery test. To simulate a long car trip in the car, I fully charged up the tablet and started playing Disney movies until the tablet shut off.

After 90 minutes, we were down to 72% battery. Not bad. After 3 hours, we were now down to 42% battery life. The 10% low battery warning popped up around the 5 hour mark, and tablet finally died after 5 1/2 grueling hours of Disney movies. That should be enough for even the most demanding car trips to grandma and granddad. Nice work, Amazon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Time to try out the camera on the Kindle Fire.... Ugh.

I noticed that I forgot to try out the camera in the earlier sections of my Kindle Fire review. I really wasn't expecting the 2 MP shooter on this tablet to be all that good, but I still found myself disappointed with how this camera performed.

Once my daughter went to bed, I "borrowed" her new tablet and took a few indoor pictures. The results turned out to be pretty bad:

Note that these (unretouched) pictures are noisy, pixelated, and out of focus. The colors are off as well. The camera app does have to ability to touch a part of the image in an attempt to focus it, but it didn't really seem to help in this instance. The front facing VGA (640x480) resolution camera is just as bad:

Note that the picture is out of focus and the color is off. I know... I shouldn't expect much from a camera sensor that probably cost less than a dollar, but I can't really see a point in having a camera this bad on a tablet at all.

One nice thing that I noticed during this test is that it is relatively easy to e-mail photos from the photos app. Other than that, this was a pretty disappointing (but expected) result. Just to be fair, I'll try taking some photos outside and see if it does any better. That said, don't buy this tablet if you plan on using it for taking photos!