Kindle Fire updates boost performance and navigation

by Kristen Nicole

The Kindle Fire really stands out as a consumer favorite this season, exceeding sales expectations even in its first few weeks on the market. But every new device has its kinks to work out, and the Kindle Fire received its first major update to address early bugs. LG also released an LTE version of the Optimus for Japan, while Brainlink looks to turn any device into an Android device with a new “connector” geared for the hacker crowd.

Amazon Kindle Fire

As promised, Amazon rolled out an update for the recently launched Kindle Fire tablet to address early bugs and poor performance. While the Kindle Fire’s budget-friendly price and streamlined marketplace has plenty of consumer appeal, early reviews of the Android-powered tablet weren’t the best. So the update looks to improve the tablet overall with enhanced “fluidity,” upgrading touch navigation responsiveness and even a few custom options for your carousel. For improved privacy you also get the ability to add a password lock on Wi-Fi access. The update has already rolled out and will be automatically delivered to your Kindle Fire.

LG Optimus LTE

LG’s reveling in Android’s booming global market with the launch of the new Optimus LTE. The smartphone will be available on Japan’s biggest mobile carrier, NTT Docomo, to run on their 4G service called Xi. The Japanese launch comes shortly after the handset debuted in Korea and North America, with a few Docomo-specific features for international users. The Docomo version comes with Android 2.2, NFC support and a digital TV tuner, displayed on the 4.5” 1280x720 IPS display. There’s also access to the Docomo market, the network’s version of the Android marketplace, and features the “Palette UI,” designed specifically for Docomo Android phones. LG created a bright red version of the Optimus for Japanese buyers who dare to be bold.

BirdBrain Technologies Brainlink

Turn any device into an Android device with the new Brainlink controller. It links robots and other infrared devices to your Android phone via Bluetooth, enabling remote access and control for a variety of actions and services. Brainlink’s controller attaches to the robot, for instance, relaying commands through its IR detector. It has a light sensor and accelerometer, and ports for other sensors to really trick out your device. One example of a Brainlink use is a Roomba equipped with a proximity sensor so it will stop hitting walls. Other given examples include voice control for your Android phone-turned-TV remote, or training a robot to pick up your socks by connecting it to an object-recognition app. Brainlink will run you about $125, and they’re here to spark the imagination of home hackers, professors and computer science students.