Amazon released an update for its popular Fire tablets today, adding a night reading mode called Blue Shade. The update, which is the first major revision to Fire OS 5, also includes parental controls. It’s rolling out today for some users, and should be available for all Fire, Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 users in the next couple of weeks. Here’s a closer look at what’s included.
Blue Shade is designed to tweak the brightness and colour temperature of your Kindle’s display in response to current light conditions, enabling easier nighttime reading and protecting against the potentially harmful effects of blue light. Amazon cites studies that show blue light emitted from LCD displays can disrupt your sleep patterns and suppress melatonin production. With warmer colour temperatures (a more yellow display) and lower brightness, these effects can be minimised.
The mode sounds similar to popular app f.lux, which adjusts colour temperature from sunset until dawn. That app is most well known for its desktop iterations on Windows and Mac, but was briefly available on iOS before Apple snuffed it out. Android has yet to see a version released, but there are several alternatives including Twilight.
The other major element to the update comes in the form of additional parental controls. A new activity centre app will show parents how much time their children are watching videos, playing games and reading, in addition to showing their browsing history (‘lady without clothes’) and a list of apps used.
Amazon are also introducing a kid-friendly browser, which allows access to 40,000 Amazon-approved YouTube videos and websites. This can be enabled in the parental control settings, which is called Amazon FreeTime.
Amazon’s latest update sounds like a useful one, so let us know your thoughts once you receive it. If you have a Kindle Fire tablet, why not look at our latest and greatest Kindle accessories via the button below?