thanks for all the help, everyone. i finally got it to work, and here's how...
i was talking to customer service and suggested they send me the link to the file again because maybe the problem was with the file. they directed me to the customer support section of their site, where there were not one, but two files that had to be downloaded. it seems they split up the initial file they were sending everyone into two files, and after downloading both, i had no problems installing.
i don't know exactly what's different with the firmware update though. does anyone have a list of changes?
also, i'm loving the tablet, but still can't find a decent video chat app. i tried downloading the one that everyone's posting, but it still gives me a black screen =(.