What's New in Kindle Fire HDX - dummies

What’s New in Kindle Fire HDX

By Nancy C. Muir

Now, in its third generation, the Kindle Fire HDX offers several very nice improvements at the right price and feature mix for many people, while offering the key to the treasure chest of content that Amazon has been wise enough to amass.

Kindle Fire HDX and the new operating system, Fire OS 3.0, bring several new or improved features to the table, including:

  • Mayday: A support feature that allows you to interact with a live tech advisor who can talk you through procedures, point out items on your screen by circling them, or actually take over your Kindle Fire and perform procedures for you.

  • X-Ray: This feature was available on Kindle Fire HDs, but with Fire OS 3.0 it has been enhanced to provide information about books and music in addition to TV shows and movies. X-Ray makes available information about topics such as movie cast members and vocal artists, and can even display song lyrics as music plays.

  • Grid View: The Favorites area in the lower part of the Home screen has been redesigned into a grid, the first two lines of which contain icons for commonly used apps such as the Silk browser and Email. You can add apps and content such as books and music selections to this grid so that you can access them more quickly.

  • Quiet Time: If you don’t want to hear notifications for events such as arriving mail or download completions for a time, just tap the Quiet Time button in the Quick Settings bar (swipe down from the top of the screen to display Quick Settings).

  • Quick Switch: To see content and apps you’ve used recently, from any screen but the Home screen swipe up or to the left from the Options bar (depending on whether it’s positioned at the bottom or on the right of the screen) to see a scrollable list. This Quick Switch feature lets you quickly jump to another option without returning to the Home screen.

  • Printing Support: You can now print docs, photos, and e-mail messages to wireless printers.

  • Accessibility Tools: Screen Reader, Explore by Touch, and Screen Magnifier have been added to help people with hearing or vision challenges.

  • Second Screen: This feature wasn’t yet available when Kindle Fire HDX first shipped, but it will appear soon. It allows you to “fling” content on your Kindle Fire HDX or the Amazon Cloud to your television. This causes the content to stream to the TV so that your Kindle Fire HDX is freed up for you to do other things with it while watching.

  • Kindle FreeTime: This improved feature lets you create a unique environment for your kids by limiting what content and apps they can use. When you turn on FreeTime, your kids see only the content you’ve given them permission to use, and it’s all shown against a more kid-friendly graphical background.

  • Goodreads: This service is like a social network for readers. You can download the free app and then track and share what you’re reading and get access to reviews and recommendations from other readers.

  • Immersion Reading: You can synchronize a book on your Kindle Fire HDX with an Audible audiobook. When you do, text in the e-book will be highlighted as each word is read from within the Kindle reader, which Amazon considers a more “immersive” reading experience to aid learning.

  • Kindle Matchbook: This sales feature allows you get a discounted Kindle version of any book you’ve purchased on Amazon.

  • 1-Tap-Archive: If you haven’t used an app in quite some time, say, a month or more, a checkmark appears on it to indicate that it’s not being used. If you want to remove the app from your Kindle Fire HDX, you can simply tap the app to do so.