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Amazon releases Kindle Fire OS 3.1 update, takes on Chromecast with 'Second Screen'

Amazon releases Kindle Fire OS 3.1 update, takes on Chromecast with 'Second Screen'

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Amazon has released Kindle Fire OS 3.1, the latest update for its new Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets. The new version includes numerous new features, led by full integration of Goodreads. Users can now share their favorite quotes with other Goodreads members and keep track of what friends are reading thanks to an updates feed. Ratings and reviews can be composed right from the OS, and Amazon lets users quickly import all previous book purchases — both physical and digital — into Goodreads.

Goodreads comes to Amazon's tablets

Fire OS 3.1 also introduces Second Screen, an option that lets users "fling" movies and TV shows from their tablet onto a nearby television. It's essentially Amazon's answer to Google Cast, the technology that powers Chromecast. Once content begins streaming on the TV, users are free to use the Kindle Fire HD or HDX to control playback or for other purposes like web browsing. They can also view a "customized" version of X-Ray and learn more about cast members as a movie or show progresses. Amazon says Second Screen is available now on PlayStation 3 and Samsung TVs, and the feature will come to PlayStation 4 "later this year." Sorry Xbox owners: the company isn't saying when or if it will come to Microsoft's platform.

Beyond that, Fire OS 3.1 adds a number of small but useful tweaks. Users can now organize books, newspapers, magazine, and apps into Cloud Collections, which are automatically synced across all of your devices. And if your Kindle hardware is running out of storage, the OS will now look for items that haven't been used in a while and offer a one-click archive process to free up space. Voice dictation (with offline support for English), wireless printing, and battery life improvements round out the update, which is rolling out to Amazon's latest devices starting today.