Amazon included Silk, the “split browser” with the original Kindle Fire that promised speedy performance by handing off some of the browsing load onto the company’s powerful servers? The company made a lot of noise about the browser when it first launched two years ago, but today it’s receiving the first major update in nearly a year.
A melange of user interface changes make up the update, with redesigned navigation and a simplified new tab page headlining the additions. The latter only shows your most visited sites now, with pages that are trending across the Kindle Fire community being relegated to a new menu pane that pops out from the left side of the screen.
The controls atop the browser are cleaned up a bit too, with a new, big green button encouraging users to try the simplified reading view. Additionally, the fullscreen browsing option is now activated using a small black tab that appears at the bottom of webpages.
While the changes look like a step in the right direction, it’s hard not to be skeptical of the browser team’s statement today that “we’re in the early days of Amazon Silk, and there’s plenty of work still to do.” Silk has always been a bit disappointing: the original version was far from smooth, and the server-side loading never seemed to make an appreciable difference. For its part, the Silk team does say that it’s been rolling out behind-the-scenes improvements over the years, and today’s update is said to introduce some performance upgrades to the browser’s rendering engine.