I’ve written before about how much I like my Amazon Fire tablets and how to choose which one might be right for you. In this post, I’m sharing an update, a tip, and a deal for those who already own a Fire tablet and those who are considering getting one.
Fire OS 5 now available for 4th generation tablets
Apparently this actually happened about 6 months ago, but I’ve just discovered it myself. Previously, only generation 5 and 6 tablets had the most recent operating system, but in November 2016 Amazon rolled it out to 4th generation tablets, which include the HD 6, HD 7, and HDX 8.9 models.
The biggest benefits of the updated software are that these tablets now work with Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated assistant, and you can install the Google Play Store on them, giving you access to the larger library of Android apps.
Tip: Fix wireless connectivity problem
My go-to tablet is the 6th generation Fire HD 8, but earlier this year for some reason it kept disconnecting from my Wi-Fi network. On the tablet’s Wireless settings page, the connection would say “saved” instead of “connected.” And after I would reconnect it, it would disconnect within a few seconds. Talk about frustrating!
I contacted Amazon Support and after a couple of attempts at simple fixes, they suggested I reset my tablet to factory settings. I really didn’t want to do this because I have a TON of apps, but eventually I reached the point that I was willing to take on that inconvenience to solve the problem. And it worked… for a little while. But after a couple of weeks, it started happening again.
This time when I did a Google search, I found a thread on the Amazon Customer Forums that I hadn’t seen before where a number of people were experiencing the same problem and sharing the solutions that worked for them. For me, the one that ended up working was instead of connecting to my network manually by entering a password, I used the WPS option. This is where you press the WPS button on your router and select that option in your Wi-Fi connection settings to automatically connect the two devices. (NOTE: On your tablet’s Wi-Fi settings, you need to click the menu icon at the top right and select Advanced to see the WPS option.)
I did this a few months ago and I’ve only had a couple of disconnects since then and those automatically reconnected within a few seconds. So as far as I’m concerned, I file this under “problem solved.”
I’m not sure which models are affected by this issue and which solutions might work for each, but if it’s happening to you and the WPS option doesn’t solve it, check out this thread and see if any of the other suggestions work for you.
Time-limited deal on 16GB Fire tablet
If you’ve been looking at the current base model of the Fire tablet but thought that 8GB just wasn’t enough memory, there’s good news. Right now you can get the 16GB version for just $10 more (usually it’s $20 more). I have no idea how long this promotion will last, so if it’s something you’re interested in, you should check it out now!