Amazon uses Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) as the operating system on its new tablets. However, the user interface doesn't really change. Content is still arranged in a revolving carousel (view in portrait mode), where you'll find the most frequently used apps and programs. Recently-visited websites show up in the carousel as well, depicted with a small thumbnail snapshot of the site.
Swiping from the top displays a number of options, including Wi-Fi settings, brightness, volume, and more. This drop-down menu also serves as a notification tray and download tracker.
Applications are divided between those installed on the device itself, or those that exist in the cloud. Some of the options, like Contacts and Personal Videos, exist on both, enabling offline access. Other Web-based services like Hulu and Skype, obviously require network connectivity.
The Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD are primarily consumption devices for content purchased through Amazon. This much is known and accepted. Clicking on a product link takes you to its page on amazon.com. An initial simplified product view hides user reviews, which only become visible when you switch to the more detailed product view. The UI is clean, and its focus is unquestionably designed to encourage transactions. Snagging a Bear Grylls Jacket on an Amazon Lightning Deal is quick and simple, with easy-to-select drop-down boxes for size/color, and simple checkout and payment, with or without Amazon’s 1-Click ordering.
Once purchased, books become available for offline viewing, and they're automatically formatted to enable viewing text at the appropriate size.
Magazines uniquely give you an animated motion when you flip through their pages.
Alternate Views For Newsstand In Portrait Mode
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- Kindle UI: If It's Not Broken, Don't Change It
- Prime: Streaming Video And HDMI Output
- CPU And GPU Performance
- Storage Performance: Amazon Fixes A Big Weakness
- LCD Performance Analysis
- Battery Life And Recharge Time
- Wi-Fi Performance: Faster From Farther Away?
- Kindle Fire HD: Another Tablet That Plays Into Amazon's Business
- Appendix A: USB Debugging, Screenshots, And Rooting