Silk, Amazon’s custom web browser for Kindle Fire tablets, dropped off our radars since it was announced two years ago. With the last major release being almost a year old, it seemed there hasn’t been much going on. But apparently the developers have really been busy at work to provide a fresh new design and better browsing experience to their users.

First time users of Silk will be greeted by a Just-In-Time (JIT) tutorial at launch, a simple screen that points to the major features or control points of the browser, which, thankfully, isn’t that many. From that point on, whenever the browser is started, a new tab with an empty address bar and a list of most visited links will be shown, which is apparently a most requested feature by users. Silk now also has a new look for its tabs, making it easier to distinguish the active tab from the rest.

Reading View is a feature that lets users have a more immersive reading experience. It does so by presenting a mode that removes ads and other clutter and presents only a single, easy to read page of content. It even combines multi-page articles into a single view. The developers have also improved the Full Screen view that automatically hides the browser’s top and bottom toolbars to give way to more content, without removing ads or changing the page’s layout.

The new Silk version also offers an updated and more organized left panel menu and navigation pages. A simple tap of the upper-leftmost button or a swipe from the left will reveal the left panel which gives access to a list of Navigation pages such as Bookmarks, Most Visited, and Downloads. The Navigation pages have also been redesigned. For example, the Bookmarks page now has options for a list view or a grid view of items.

Kindle Fire users who haven’t migrated to other browsers yet might delight in this new Silk version. The rest of us, however, might be out of luck as the app is exclusive to Amazon’s tablets. While an older version of Silk could be sideloaded on other devices, it’s not certain whether that will be updated to the latest version as well.

SOURCE: Amazon Silk