Amazon is updating the software that runs on its tablets and smartphones. Fire OS 4 “Sangria” is based on Google Android 4.4 KitKat, but like earlier versions of the operating system it features a distinctly Amazon design.
The home screen, settings panel, and other components are all Amazon… as are the app, music, video, and book stores.
Fire OS 4 will ship with all 4th-generation Fire tablets, and it’ll be available as a free over-the-air update for 3rd-generation tablets as well.
Among other things, Fire OS 4 adds support for profiles, allowing different members of your family to access their own home screens, Facebook or Twitter accounts, games, or other apps on the same tablet.
There’s also support for ASAP, a feature first introduced with the Amazon Fire TV. This predicts which movies or TV show episodes you’re likely to watch and gets them ready for playback before you even ask for them, which means they’ll be ready to go as soon as you hit the play button.
Fire OS 4 also includes Firefly support for tablets. This is a feature that was first introduced with the Fire Phone, which lets you identify items using your device’s camera… and then search for them online.
Other new features include support for printing from the Silk web browser, improved battery life thanks to a Smart Suspend feature, integration with WPS Office for viewing or editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, and more.
There are also some upcoming features that aren’t ready to go just yet. These include a private browsing mode for the Silk web browser and a Family Library tool that lets you link your Amazon account with that of someone else in your household so that you can access one another’s books, videos, apps, and other content.