Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Amazon’s latest entry into the eBook reader market is a step up from the e-ink devices that traditionally bear the name “Kindle”. The Kindle Fire is a 7 inch tablet running a customized version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and enables users to access the Kindle store, download media provided by Amazon Prime and surf the web, check emails and download apps, much as you would with any other Android slate.
If you’re familiar with the Android system then setting up your Kindle Fire should be pretty straightforward. However if this is all new to you or you have received a Kindle Fire as a gift and it has the sender’s Amazon details (the company adds these details when they dispatch their eBook reader devices) then you’ll need to know how to get started with this great tablet device.
Connecting To Wireless Networks
When you first switch on a new Amazon Kindle Fire, the device will attempt to get you connected to a local wireless network. This is to enable you to connect to your Amazon account and start using the Kindle store.
Any wireless networks in the vicinity will be displayed, so all you will need to do is tap the preferred hotspot and add the password or key string. You can use the Show password box to check what you’re entering is correct, useful for those complicated encrypted strings. Click Connect when you’re done.
Adding Your Amazon Account
You will then be prompted to enter your Amazon password, just below where your username is displayed. If the Kindle was bought by a friend or relative as a gift you will find that the device is registered to them, so you will need to deregister the device before you can add your own credentials.
As there is no cancel button you will need to tap the Settings icon in the top-right corner. From here, tap More… > My Account > Deregister and wait while the device clears the previous account.
A few moments later you will be able to add your own Amazon account and password. If you don’t already have these you can sign up online in just a few moments.
Syncing Your Kindle Library
With your Kindle Fire connected to the Internet and your Amazon account added to the device, you’re ready to start buying books to download to your device (although note that thousands of out-of-copyright classic titles are also available for free such as Project Gutenberg).
On the main screen on your Kindle (accessed via the Home button in the lower-left corner) you will see a largely empty set of shelves waiting to be filled with regularly-accessed apps and of course books that you’re reading. If you already have an Amazon account and have purchased Kindle titles previously, tap the Settings icon and then Sync to prompt the WhisperSync software to download your books to the device.
If you are yet to buy a book, simply hit the Amazon icon to gain instant access to the store and start browsing!
Configuring The Kindle Fire For Multimedia & The Internet
Your e-reader tablet is capable of so much more than reading books. With a Kindle Prime account you can download videos and music to the Kindle Fire, while a browser, email client and access to the Amazon app store are all available.
However unlike the original Kindle devices, the Kindle Fire doesn’t use the eye-friendly e-ink display. As a result there is a greater chance of eye strain when reading books on the LCD display. Fortunately there is a brightness control available via Settings > Display.
Similarly you may wish to alter the volume; this is something you can do via Settings > Volume. Extended options for both settings are available via Settings > More…
With your Kindle Fire now set up you will be ready to start downloading books, apps and games and checking your email.
Let us know if you managed to get everything working or not. If you have just got a Kindle Fire for the first time, what do you think about it? Love it or hate it?