Back in September, Amazon introduced a new line of Fire tablets. The revised lineup included a $50 7-inch Fire along with a Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 priced from $149 and $229 respectively. All of the tablets shipped with Amazon’s new Fire OS 5, which was developed under the codename “Bellini.”
Today, Amazon has announced the first major update to Fire OS 5 and it encompasses three new features. The headlining feature is Blue Shade, which is designed to help make reading a tablet in bed a more enjoyable experience. Amazon explains that it relied on research studies which show that blue light can interrupt the body’s production of melatonin, interfere with our ability to fall asleep and even delay REM sleep.
Blue Shade uses special filters to limit blue light exposure and instead uses warm color filters along with ultra-low brightness settings to provide a more comfortable reading experience for your eyes and less of a shock to your body. You can always turn Blue Shade off if it’s not to your liking and there are plenty of settings to tweak it if you do decide use it on a regular basis.
In addition to Blue Shade, Amazon is introducing Activity Center as the next step after FreeTime, which is managing your child’s use of the tablet. Activity Center is geared towards children that are too old to be shackled by FreeTime, but aren’t quite ready to use a Fire tablet completely unsupervised. Parents will be able to keep tabs on how much time their children are spending on their Fire and even peek through their browsing history along with “specific apps, books, or videos their kids accessed.”
The final piece to this Fire OS 5 puzzle is a new “kid-friendly” browser for Fire tablets. Instead of providing children with access to all that the Internet has to offer, FreeTime controls limit access to around 40,000 “hand-curated, age-appropriate” website and YouTube videos. Amazon worked together with Common Sense Media and its own in-house staff to provide a more hospitable browsing environment for younglings.
This newest update for Fire OS 5 will begin rolling out over-the-air today and should be available to all Fire, Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 users by the end of the year.