updated 12:23 pm EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
FreeTime prevents access to unsuitable content, limits usage
Amazon has released an update for the Kindle Fire HD. Alongside the optimizations to performance and functionality included in a usual software update, the change to version 7.1.5 adds in the Kindle FreeTime mode, a walled garden interface designed for children to use without the need for parental supervision.
FreeTime adds in a number of filters and caps that dictate what a child can view and for how long. Timers can be set for individual types of content, as well as filters to the kind of content that's actually viewable. Exiting the FreeTime section requires a password, preventing younger users from viewing unsuitable content or using the tablet for longer.
The update comes on the same day as Apple prepares to present its smaller iPad to the world. A seven-inch iPad would directly compete with the Kindle Fire HD, potentially damaging its currently high level of sales.