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Amazon Fire Phone update adds emoji and ability to change wallpaper

Amazon Fire Phone update adds emoji and ability to change wallpaper


Only now can you change the Fire Phone's home screen wallpaper

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Amazon's Fire Phone has been a commercial flop and will forever go down as a black eye for the company, but that hasn't stopped Amazon from updating it with new features. Today, Fire Phone users can install a pretty big update that brings the phone's underlying software up to Android 4.4 KitKat. No, you still can't use Gmail or install apps from Google Play, and Amazon's release notes unsurprisingly make no mention of the Android version bump; Fire OS looks nothing like Android on other smartphones. But using 4.4 as the Fire Phone's foundation has allowed Amazon to add an emoji keyboard, for one. (The actual emoji characters are identical to those you'd find on a stock Android device, according to Ars Technica.) Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy support is also part of Android 4.4 and thus comes packed in this update.

At least Amazon's not giving up on the thing

From there, the additions are less major but should be appreciated by Amazon's small pool of customers. Some are just crazy late. You can now "change the wallpaper on the home screen," according to the release notes. Yes, Fire Phone launched last July and owners are only now able to customize the home screen wallpaper. Amazon says significant improvements to notifications are bundled in; you can now view previews of new notifications directly on the lock screen (and toggle which apps can display them there).

One other new feature sounds somewhat cool: Fire Phone users can now record video clips and have those automatically converted into a 3D-like lenticular image. This image can either be shared or set as the lock screen wallpaper, where it would move around like Amazon's other dynamic perspective scenes. The Fire OS 4.6.1 update can be downloaded from your phone's settings menu or by manually installed over USB. That's where you can also find the full list of changes, which also includes the ability to print from Fire Phone and optimizations to the calendar and messaging apps.