Amazon’s Fire OS 3.0 ‘Mojito’ Comes With A Ton Of New Features, Major ‘Mayday’ Customer Support FeatureBy: Chris Crum - September 25, 2013
The OS starts with Android, but adds a number of its own features. It does include native Android app compatibility, so apps that work on Android should work on Fire OS with “little to no work”. It also supports HTML5 apps.
It includes GameCircle and Whispersync for Games so users can sync their game progress across devices. It also includes In-App Purchasing and Mobile Associates so users can buy digital and physical items using their Amazon accounts.
“Amazon Device Messaging gives customers a single messaging platform for all their apps built on Amazon Web Services, which developers can take advantage of to send notifications to Kindle Fire tablets,” Amazon says. “Amazon Coins offers every new Kindle Fire customer 500 coins ($5) of virtual currency to use for purchasing apps, games, or in-app items on Kindle Fire. Amazon Coins is an easy way for customers to spend money on developers’ apps and offers another opportunity to drive traffic and app downloads increasing monetization even further.”
The new OS includes some accessibility tools like Screen Reader, Explore by Touch and Screen Magnifier, which can be enabled across most of its features.
There are a number of cloud services and interface improvements that come with Mojito. The redesigned interface includes carousel and grid views, for example. Cloud Collections make apps, books, newspapers and magazines easier to find, according to Amazon. They’re automatically stored in the cloud, and Whispersync syncs them across devices and apps. There’s a 1-Tap Archive feature that identifies items that haven’t been used recently and lets you easily store them in the cloud to free up device space.
The Kindle FreeTime feature lets parents whitelist movies, books, apps and games that are appropriate for their Kids, and there’s a new “For Kids” suggestion feature.
There is OS-level sharing with Facebook and Twitter. Goodreads is built into the reading experience, and X-Ray for Movies and TV now shows the names of TV theme and movie soundtrack songs as they play. It also shows trivia and “goofs” while watching a movie or show (powered by IMDb). X-Ray has also expanded for music with synced lyrics. The Second Screen feature lets users “fling” content from their device to their TV.
“Quiet Time, directly accessed from the quick settings menu, lets you mute all incoming notifications or calendar reminders. In addition, Quiet Time can be tied to a particular activity such as reading,” Amazon says. “Quick Switch uses a global swipe gesture from anywhere in the system to go between multiple apps, and unlike standard Android, works with individual content items like different textbooks without navigating home.”
Amazon has made improvements to the download manager so that it adjusts the number of simultaneous downloads per devices to not impact performance. It also pauses downloads when you go to watch Amazon videos so it doesn’t affect video quality.
Amazon has replaced the standard Android graphics with its own Graphics Direct Texture system designed to load higher-res images quickly. As a result things like the Carousel and media libraries can quickly and smoothly load large, detailed images.
Mojito has also improved touch responsiveness, and Reading Mode has been optimized to give users 17 hours of battery life when reading.
Amazon is really looking to break further into the enterprise with Mojito and the new devices. Here’s the feature list the company is touting as making the new tablets enterprise-ready:
- Wi-Fi networks with WPA2 support for secure access to corporate apps, documents and resources like SharePoint.
- Email that makes it even easier for business customers to set up their accounts, group conversations by subject, sync their email and more.
- Print documents and emails directly from Kindle Fire to a wireless printer.
- Built-in OfficeSuite to read documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
- Native VPN client, for instant access to corporate networks while on the road or at home.
- Secure hardware data encryption on Kindle Fire HDX.
- Kerberos authentication for single sign-on and the ability to browse secure Intranet websites from the Silk browser on Kindle Fire.
- Native SCEP (Simple Certificate Exchange Protocol) client to retrieve digital certificates for secure resources.
- Kindle-specific device management APIs that integrate with existing mobile device management (MDM) systems to make it easy for IT departments to manage Kindle Fire. Kindle Fire supports a wide range of MDM solutions including Amazon’s Whispercast service as well as third-party vendors like AirWatch, Citrix, Fiberlink, Good Technology, and SOTI.
“Kindle Fire is already the second most popular tablet at work in the U.S.,” said Raghu Murthi, Vice President of Enterprise and Education at Amazon. “As employees increasingly bring their own devices to work, the new Kindle Fire tablets can be easily integrated into the workplace with the new enterprise features, including encryption, secure Wi-Fi, a native VPN client, integration with leading MDM solutions, and Kerberos support for Intranet access.”
There’s one feature of Mojito that Amazon is calling “revolutionary”. That would be the Mayday button. This provides user with free on-device 24×7 tech support. It’s built into the Quick Settings. It allows you to call upon an Amazon expert, who will appear on screen, and can help a user with any feature on the device, even by drawing on the screen.
If it’s as good as it sounds, this certainly takes customer service up a notch. Amazon says it has a response time “goal” of 15 seconds or less. You can see the advisor, but they can’t see you.
Fire OS 3.0 is available only on the new Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets, though some features will make their way to other devices in an update in November.