Amazon Fire phone getting huge update that includes Android 4.4 KitKat

Typically when we talk about the Amazon Fire phone, it’s because Amazon has slashed the handset’s price in an attempt to get more folks to spring for its not-totally-well-received phone. That’s not the case today, though.

Amazon is pushing an update to the Fire phone that includes Fire OS 4.6.1. What’s notable about this update is that it bumps the Fire phone up to Android 4.4, which while not totally exciting now that Android 5.1 is out, is exciting for the Fire phone since it’s coming from Android 4.2.

There are a bunch of other goodies included in the update, like Bluetooth Low Energy support, the ability to change your home screen wallpaper, and “dozens” of bug fixes and UI improvements. Amazon’s full changelog is as follows:

Support for Bluetooth Low Energy

  • Fire phone now supports Bluetooth Low Energy technology. To learn more, go to Connect to Bluetooth.

Change the wallpaper on the Home screen

  • You can now change the Home screen wallpaper to a different color or use your own image. To learn more, go to Change the Home Screen Wallpaper.

Lock screen notification improvements

  • View previews of new notifications on the lock screen and manage which apps can show previews on the lock screen. To learn more, go to View & Manage Notifications.

Additional keyboard options

  • Amazon’s keyboard now includes color emoji. Choose from hundreds of emoji characters to make your e-mail and multimedia messages fun and personal. You can also change the default keyboard on your Fire phone with another compatible keyboard downloaded from the Amazon Appstore. To learn more, go to Customize Your Language & Keyboard.

Convert video clips into lenticular images and set HDR to auto

  • Record video clips and automatically convert them into a lenticular image to share with others or use on the lock screen. With HDR turned to auto, your phone’s camera also determines whether a scene needs HDR and captures it to create a rich, detailed image. To learn more, go to Take Photos & Personal Videos.

Smarter calling options

  • Manage up to five people on a conference call, delete all previous calls in your history, and more. To learn more, go to Make & Receive Phone Calls.

Messaging improvements

  • Delete or forward multiple messages in a conversation, swipe to delete conversations in your Inbox, and modify your messaging settings with new options, such as the ability to change the text size of your messages. To learn more, go to Send, Read & Manage Messages.

Choose different colors for calendar events

  • If you have multiple e-mail accounts synced with your phone, you can assign a color for each account. When you select a new color for an account, your calendar events appear in that color. To learn more, go to General Settings for Email, Contacts, and Calendar.

Print from your Fire phone

  • You can now print personal documents, e-mails, contact details, and calendar events from your Fire phone to your compatible HP, Epson, or Canon printers. To learn more, go to Print From Your Fire Phone.

Enhanced enterprise features

  • With support for secure work Wi-Fi networks, single sign-on for corporate networks, and AES-256 bit hardware encryption, your Fire phone is ready for more work. To learn more, go to Protect Your Fire Phone with Encryption and Set Up a VPN.

Accessibility improvements

  • Easily manage your closed caption settings across the device and enjoy new Screen Reader features—such as independent volume controls and faster reading speed options—when you use the accessibility options on your Fire phone. To learn more, go to Accessibility Features.

Bug fixes and user interface improvements

  • Dozens of other bug fixes and user interface improvements.

This is a pretty huge update for Amazon Fire phone owners, and it’s good to see Amazon continuing to show love to its first smartphone, despite the fact that it’s not widely loved. And hey, if you don’t yet have a Fire phone, Amazon is still selling the device for $189 unlocked and contract-free. That includes a free year of Amazon Prime — normally $99 — and you can even install this shiny new update once your phone arrives.

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