Kindle Fire OS – Marches to a Different Drummer
Amazon’s Kindle Fire runs a customized, unique fork of the more commonly known Gingerbread OS, used in many Android smartphones. Because it’s a fork – a geeky industry term for a remixed, modified version of software – the Kindle Fire OS will look nothing like the Gingerbread you might be used to on your smartphone.
However, the features Amazon packs into the Kindle are useful. Rather than simply emulating the system of buttons and panes used in most Android devices, the Kindle Fire uses a format more befitting the world’s biggest online book retailer: a bookshelf. All your ebooks, apps, music and games are represented as books and LP albums on virtual mahogany shelves.
The carousel occupies the top shelf, and is the visual equivalent of your browser history; it collects all the albums, books, games, and videos you’ve been using recently onto a single shelf. Similar to iTunes; you can shuffle through back and forth through the carousel to see the whole thing.
The favorites shelf is just beneath the carousel, and gives you a place to pin your favorite apps and books. Simply drag your favorites from the carousel onto the favorites shelf. To see your collection at large, you can switch to different shelves.
Kindle Fire Hardware – Surprisingly Beefy, Surprisingly Affordable
With a high-def, IPS touchscreen, half a gig of RAM, and a 1.5GHz processor, the Kindle Fire has technological guts and a screen that other tablets charge twice as much for. However, as of this writing, the Kindle Fire only costs two hundred bucks.
It’s been estimated by Forbes.com that Amazon sells it’s Kindle Fire at cost, or even at a loss, expecting to recoup the profits in book and app sales. Considering the Kindle Fire has sold more than six million units since its debut last year with no signs of slowing down, we’d say the business model is working for them so far.
Kindle Fire Features – You Know… What You Can Actually Do With It
Some tablets tout cameras, HDMI output ports, and SD ports. The Kindle Fire has none of these. It stays true to its roots as an ebook reader; a device for the quieter, more reserved tablet user – let those coffee-guzzling hipsters have the oversized screens and bloated features.
That said, the Kindle Fire is wonderful for quiet “me times.” Unlike e-paper readers, Kindle Fire has a backlit screen, which means you can read it in bed. The Fire’s single USB port also supports practically all Flash drives and USB-based storage media; so the Fire can take the place of your music player in your backpack.
And don’t forget that crisp IPS screen, which makes the Kindle Fire an ideal personal movie player and game machine. Movies, games, and more can be loaded on from your computer or purchased from the Amazon store.
The Kindle Fire is also impressively versatile. Search around Google or YouTube and you’ll find videos and articles of people doing all sorts of creative things with the Kindle Fire.
Kindle Fire – Wrapping it Up
The Kindle Fire is an impressively spec’d-out seven-inch tablet for less than half of what competitors charge for theirs. It’s unique OS lends Amazon’s apps and ebooks a visceral feel; like browsing your own personal library. Except its a library the size and weight of a thin hardbound book, that goes where you do.
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