Silk: The Kindle Fire Browser

by Andy Brock on April 3, 2012

Kindle Fire Browser

The Kindle Fire is an impressive device. At only two hundred dollars, though, one might expect that performance would suffer in some areas due to the effort to get the price of the device down to as cheap as it is.

While it is certainly not up to the standards of some of the most expensive tablets on the market like say the new iPad, almost every feature on the tablet works and quite well.
 
When it comes to web browsing, though, one might find the experience a bit slow.
 
Amazon created a new browser service for the device called Silk, which relies on technological steps that are a bit outside the browser norm.
 
The functionality of the service is not quite all that one would hope for, but there are steps that can be taken to improve performance.
 
The Silk Difference
 
The Kindle Fire browser can be differentiated from other similar browsers by its method of functionality. The Silk browser makes use of Amazon’s infrastructure to essentially divide the loading load between the device and Amazon’s cloud computing service. As such, it is able to load pages faster than would otherwise be possible on a tablet of its specifications. The cloud service also takes a chance at simplifying pages for mobile consumption, by both simplifying images and preloading certain pages by attempting to predict browsing habits. The process is relatively complex, but it has created a unique browsing experience.
 
Common Complaints
 
Perhaps the largest complaints about Silk are those from the privacy sector. Because of the way that Silk works, Amazon is very much “monitoring” the web browsing of its customers. This may allow the company to gain valuable privacy data, though there has been no report of foul play on the part of the company so far. Far more pressing are those that complain about the browser’s speed; though it is touted as being faster than those available on other tablets, the reality of the browser is that the Kindle Fire browser will simply lag when it gets to data-heavy pages. For power users, this can be come quite problematic.
 
Improving Silk’s Performance
 
As with every type of software, there is always a way to tweak the program for improvements. Disabling the Accelerated page loading feature is one way to increase the loading speed, as the function is relatively useless to those using a Wi-Fi hotspot of any sort. In the options settings, you can also increase speed by both disabling plug-ins and switching to a mobile page view. None of these options will grant you the lightning-fast speed promised by Amazon, but turning off all three options will lead to a noticeable improvement.
 
Is Silk perfect? Certainly not. While it does represent a rather unique take on browser software, it does not quite live up to its promises. Between privacy concerns and slow speeds, it seems like it is up to the user to find a way to live with the service. Disabling certain options can be quite helpful, but one should still not expect perfection. While the Fire is a wonderful device in and of itself, its browsing capabilities certainly cannot be called selling points.

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