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Amazon is adding several new features to its 2015 tablet lineup, in an update rolling out today. Among the new capabilities endowed upon the Fire HD 10, Fire HD 8, Fire Kids Edition, and Fire tablets is a nighttime reading mode that adjusts the display to minimize its so-called blue light output.
Known as Blue Shade, the new setting aims to improve reading conditions in dark or dimly lit environments by both shifting the color temperature of the screen away from the blue end of the spectrum and dimming the brightness — including an ultra-low level for completely dark rooms. Blue light has been shown to hinder the body’s ability to fall asleep, resulting in sleeplessness and loss of productivity.
Other enhancements to the Fire OS 5 Bellini tablets are aimed at improving the experience for children. These include additional monitoring tools in the parental Activity Center, such as length of use and browser or app histories, as well as a new browser specifically for children that only surfs to whitelisted sites. The Kid Browser is preconfigured to give access to a reported 40,000 websites and age-appropriate YouTube videos (curated by Common Sense Media and Amazon staff), while also allowing parents to manually add sites of their choosing.
According to an Amazon spokesperson, while the new features are solely being deployed to existing Bellini builds in the next few weeks, last year’s tablet lineup — the Fire HD 6, Fire HD 7, Fire HD Kids Edition, and Fire HDX 8.9 — will see an upgrade to the latest Bellini build in “the coming months.”
Amazon’s Fire OS is an Android fork, meaning that it is based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) specifications and is compatible with Android apps, but does not include any of the so-called Google Mobile Services, which require Google Play to function. Instead, Amazon offers alternatives to those apps and features, many of which are designed to promote its vast array of commercial digital content. Bellini is based on Lollipop 5.0, the Android version prior to the recently released Marshmallow.
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