Kindle Fire Setup: Key Apps, Settings And More For Your New Amazon Tablet
Hey! You just received a Kindle Fire from someone that loves you! That's great. Now it's time to set it up so that you can get the most out of your new Amazon tablet. After you connect to a Wi-Fi network and select your time zone, you're ready to rock and/or roll on your Kindle Fire. Here are a few steps you might want to take.
SET UP YOUR EMAIL
From the homescreen, touch "Apps." This will take you onto your apps screen. Touch the "Email" icon to begin setup. For most of the major email providers -- Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL, etc. -- the process is automated, so that you have to do little more than enter your email address and password and you're set. On the final screen, you're asked to enter a "Display Name" and an "Account Name." (If you have corporate email you want to set up, check out this handy guide). Otherwise, just follow the instructions on screen, and when you're finishing up, remember:
Display Name: The name you want to appear when someone receives an email from you. Mine is "Jason Gilbert," for example.
Account Name: No one sees this but you -- it's simply the name you would use to describe that particular inbox. For example, you might have a "Personal Email," "Work Email," "Secret Email For Alternate, Counterculture Lifestyle Personality," etc. It's just an easy way for you to identify that particular email account.
After you set up your email account, you might want to change some of the settings -- including how often the Kindle Fire gets your mail and whether each message you send from your tablet includes the phrase "Sent from my Kindle Fire."
From the inbox, click on the icon at the bottom of the screen that looks like the top of box with three horizontal lines: That brings up your options menu. From here, you can add another email account (Touch "Accounts," hit the Menu icon on the next screen and then touch "Add account" or head into Settings to change up several inbox options. To automatically have your emails sent to your Kindle Fire, change "Fetch new messages" to "Push" (but be forewarned, this eats up your battery); to change your email signature ("Sent from my Kindle Fire"), go into "Composition defaults."
DOWNLOAD SOME APPS
Before you're able to download ANYTHING on your Kindle Fire (apps, movies, music -- anything), you need to turn on one-click ordering on your Amazon account.
1.Go to Amazon and sign in to your account.
2. From here, click on "Your Account" in the upper righthand corner of the webpage.
3. Under "Settings," click on "1-Click Settings."
4. Turn on 1-click ordering, choosing the appropriate credit card.
NOW you're ready to download some apps!
Back on your homescreen, touch Apps, and then touch the "Store" button in the upper righthand corner to go into the Amazon App Store. Helpful hint: Hold your Kindle Fire horizontally on this screen to see more app categories and the 'Top Rated' apps as well. Another helpful hint: You can download all of these apps from Amazon's website and they will automatically appear on your Kindle Fire. (Lag was about 5 minutes in our tests).
Quell: Terrific, peaceful puzzle game that asks you to slide a bubble to collect orbs in as few moves as possible.
Angry Birds: Gameplay of this classic is great on the Kindle Fire.
Solitaire and FreeCell: The meditative single-player card games for Kindle Fire.
Fruit Ninja: Jeff Bezos demoed this when introducing the Kindle Fire in October; plays well on the 7-inch screen.
Paper Toss: Fling a crumpled ball of paper into a trash can, compensating for the wind of a blowing fan. Stupidly addicting.
Netflix and Hulu Plus: If you've got a Netflix or Hulu Plus account, you can stream movies and TV shows on your Kindle Fire.
Drawing Pad: Well-received, robust $1 sketchbook.
Read It Later Pro: Allows you to save webpages from anywhere and then read them later on your Kindle Fire without the ads, even without an Internet connection.
AccuWeather for Android or The Weather Channel: Forecast here! Get your forecast here!
Huffington Post: DISCLOSURE: You're currently reading Huffington Post.
TweetCaster: Clean, intuitive Twitter client for Kindle Fire.
Rdio: The Spotify competitor has a free Kindle Fire app for subscribers. Unlimited music streaming on your device for $9.99 a month.
SET A PASSWORD
One of the major complaints from parents who own the Kindle Fire is that, because one-click ordering is enabled, it's too easy for kids to start up the Fire and buy whatever they want (and also look at copious amounts of pornography). One solution: Set a password that locks them out.
From the homescreen:
1. Tap the Settings icon in the upper righthand corner (it's a very small gear next to the battery).
2. From that drop-down menu, touch "More."
3. Touch "Security."
4. Turn on Lock Screen password.
5. Enter whatever password you wish!
This means that whenever the screen goes black (5 minutes is the default), you will have to enter the password to use your Kindle Fire again.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR HOMESCREEN
The homescreen essentially consists of two features: the carousel and your favorites. Your carousel (with the huge icons) is, for now, unchangeable -- it simply displays the apps, books, movies and webpages you last visited, in order of recency. Below that are your favorites, which you can change to whatever you want. For any icon in the carousel, or any icon for anything under Books, Music, Video, Docs or Apps, if you press down on the icon and hold it, there will be an option to "Add to Favorites." If you do, that icon will show up on your homescreen (probably only viewable by scrolling down on the screen).
To remove an icon from your favorites, touch and hold for a few seconds and then touch "Remove from Favorites." This doesn't delete the app from your device, just removes it from the homescreen. To delete an app, you need to go to the "Apps" screen, touch and hold the icon of the app you want to delete for a few seconds, and then touch "Remove from Device."
All of this should give you a pretty good start with your Kindle Fire. From here, things should be easy-peasy, with the "Newsstand," "Books," "Music," "Video," "Apps" and "Web" sections labeling their purposes pretty clearly with their titles.
If you do need more help, remember that much of the device is controlled from the Settings, which can be accessed from the homescreen by tapping that little gear icon in the upper righthand corner next to the battery; that your Kindle Fire comes with a "Kindle Fire User's Guide" booklet in the "Docs" section; and that, for more specific questions, Amazon has a comprehensive help section for the Kindle Fire on its website.