Fire OS 5.1.1 screenshotLast night – well, around 7.30 am from the time the screen blinked – my $50 Amazon Fire finally updated itself to Bellini Fire OS 5.1.1. This is more than a week after the update came for some users – including my parents – but I’m assuming this is because I’m in Europe. So how about those changes?

Most important, the new update doesn’t break the Google Play Store and all the other mods I’ve made to the device to access regular Google features. All those seem to work as before. As you can see from the screenshot above, apps installed via the Google Play Store still update automatically, and so far everything still seems to work. No issues with the Play Store itself, either, despite its own issues after updates. Phew.

Last time my Fire updated, I had a problem after the update accessing the microSD card memory via ES File Explorer. I only solved this by removing and reinstalling the card. This time, File Expert HD (bottom left icon in the screenshot) had no problem reading the card, so I’m starting to assume that this is one of many issues with the latest version of ES File Explorer.

The new kid-friendly features on the Kindle Fire – FreeTime Web Browser, Activity Center and Curfew – are not ones I’ll be using. My kids don’t mess with my Fire. As for Blue Shade, yes it’s there at last. I’ve tried and covered it elsewhere already, though, and as reported then, I won’t be using it.

As you can see on the above screenshot, the update also apparently brings some changes to the downloadable voices on the Fire. This is not a feature I ever use, so I have no idea what this will mean for others. However, it may bring a change or improvement for anyone who likes having their Fire read to them.

Owners of rooted Fires have been reporting problems with the updates, so maybe anyone out there who has a root and still no update might want to hold off. Otherwise, it looks like one more reason not to root – and more plain sailing with the Fire.


  1. Thanks for sharing Paul. My $50 Fire doesn’t seems to be showing the update yet and I am still at 5.0.1.

    I have two 4th generation Fire Tablet: a HD 6 and a HDX 8.9. They are running the Fire OS 4. Do you know when Amazon are going to send update to bring them to Fire OS 5?

  2. The 5.1.1 rearranged all the icons and made things really confusing for me. I hated that I had to keep removing Silk and occasionally other things like the store, from my Carousel, but I liked the Carousel otherwise. The new interface is -OK- for an experienced user like me, but I actually found the old interface more fluid to USE. It was easier to understand to the point that I didn’t have to think about it. This new 5.1.1 interface is confusing for me, and I consider myself a very skilled computer/tablet user.

    Confusing, as in, instead of just doing something without thinking about it, I have to think about it takes me two or three seconds to find what I want to do. I know how interfaces generally work, so I can figure them out fairly quickly. The problem will now be explaining how everything works to my elderly relatives who have these. Trying to have them press a circle instead of a home button to go home, for them, they might as well be learning from start all over again.

    • I don’t like the new interface either. It’s like starting over again and a little bit too much detail. Also I’m okay with getting an update but it would be nice to notify users when they plan on applying it instead of the default of automatically updating every device in the world that has the default set to auto update.

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