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Thread: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

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    Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    Setting the industry on fire – a developer’s view of the new Amazon tablet.
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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    Because the Fire runs a heavily customised version of Android, apps will need to be programmed and tested specially for it. While this isn't uncommon with development (coding for Internet Explore/Safari/Chrome; iPhone/iPad; Xbox/PS3 etc) it does add to the already fragmented nature of Android, making it essential that developers have to code for Honeycomb, Amazon and soon Ice Cream Sandwich.

    Further to this, all apps that are coded for the Fire need to be put through an approval process with Amazon. While good for alleviating some of the malicious content to make it onto the Marketplace, it adds to the time of development further. Android developers won't be used to the processes Amazon will put in place which could make them question whether they target it or not.
    Well, assuming that's true (and I've no reason to doubt it), it's exactly what I was afraid of, and the Fire just got crossed off my list. A shame but not a surprise.

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    Cheap Android tablet, that will probably succeed because Amazon are behind it, but will be under used because who would choose it over a full fat Android tablet if they wanted to use 100% of it's potential.
    Less technical might love it however...

    Close, but no cigar is my verdict!
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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    Because the Fire runs a heavily customised version of Android, apps will need to be programmed and tested specially for it. While this isn't uncommon with development (coding for Internet Explore/Safari/Chrome; iPhone/iPad; Xbox/PS3 etc) it does add to the already fragmented nature of Android, making it essential that developers have to code for Honeycomb, Amazon and soon Ice Cream Sandwich.
    Argh then maybe it's not an Android tablet, any more than an Android tablet is a Linux one. Really unhappy that Amazon have decided to fork Android - silly, silly, silly in my book. Surely they realise that this'd make it more difficult/costly for developers to put stuff on Fire? In which case, if I was in that position I'd say "to hell with it" and just develop for those "few" non-Fire Android devices out there in the wild.

    I was going to give a thumbs up to Amazon, but if what the author says is true then Amazon are out of their collective minds. :'( ...

    ... and they should have shown more sense and tried to buy webOS (for a song) from HP rather than do "something like Android"!

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    I really hope this isn't true. Who in their right mind decided not to make it a standard android API version. That would make development a nightmare. Makes we think apps on this are really an after thought and its really just about selling books, films and music...
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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    Seems I'm not alone in my view. I remember when I said, a few days ago when the news story of the details surfaced, that I was very nervous about remarks about tight integration' with cloud services'. This is exactly what I had in mind.

    Amazon rate quite highly on my "who to deal with" list because good products and excellent customer service has been my experience, and that includes the Kindle 3. But if they have tied it down like that, then I too think they're idiots because they'll have (IMHO) killed the golden goose before it laid any eggs at all.

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    I'm guessing it will be like the Nook Colour, easily rooted for full function?

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    Not massively surprising. They can't sell something like this at cost, or even below it, and not recoup their costs elsewhere.

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    The thing is I dont think this will make a difference to most consumers' opinions of the Kindle Fire. Amazon are not going to advertise it as an Android platform presumably in the sameway Samsung at al advertise their tablets as being Honeycomb.

    The problem will lie with developers not wanting to code for a whole new platform. Amazon could've made it very easy for developers by just using a standard Android platform and possibly would've reaped the rewards of the strong library.

    On the other hand, the previous Kindles did not share a platform with any other devices and they were very popular. If Amazon mange to keep their customers loyal (and a very good strateg for this is to price the thing cheap) then first will come the consumers and the developers will soon follow.

    I actually think Amazon are being very clever. The tablet would not be abe to compete with a Galaxy Tab or equivalent hardware-wise, and even if it does cost half the amount people will view it as 'inferior'. By seperating it from this competition it should stand on its own and they can live off ad revenue and their existing book/magazine/newspaper library.

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    I think npras42 (welcome to HEXUS, by the way) has hit the nail on the head.

    Amazon have firmly positioned the Kindle brand as being a book reader, and the fire is an extension to that to include other content. Most consumers won't care whether it is Android, anteater, cyborg or any other operating system, they will just want it (at that price) for what it is optimised for. And if there aren't any third party apps, so what? Will it detract from the sales? Maybe, but not by very much.

    As for gaining root access, I think the standard kindle can be rooted, but while e-ink is absolutely superb for text and some graphics, it wouldn't be that good for general purpose computing, so what is the point?

    I think the same will be true of the fire, it could be broken, but why bother? It is the user interface to the Amazon book (and now multimedia) resources, a model that Apple have found works well.

    I don't think I'll be buying one, my standard kindle is great for books (it does mp3 as well) and the great thing for me is the (essentially free) 3G connectivity. It is it isn't locked in to Amazon, it supports a number of e book formats, which I can load from other sources (via a PC) and neither do I need a kindle to access Amazon's content, I can use a PC app.

    I expect that will be similar for the Fire - it won't be locked to Amazon, but buying content from Amazon will be easier with a kindle account with wi-fi downloads to the device.

    However, one friend has already pre-ordered, so I'll wait to see how he gets on with it!
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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    I think most end users will prefer it being Kindle branded than Android branded. IMO Kindle / Amazon has a bigger brand name than Android. And at least it is quite clear what it is (Amazon media consumption device)

    It is of course technically the 'wrong' thing to do, but in the world where everything dumbed-down, privacy-invading, locking you into a contract, and insecure is OK if it is consumer-friendly, hey-ho.

    Still waiting for an eink device with GPS by the way if you're reading Amazon.

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    I agree, this should sell by the millions, especially in the USA. But it's not for me...hobbled and controlled far too much for me to consider
    Old puter - still good enuff till I save some pennies!

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    Personally I think this is a bit of a crazy move by Amazon. I can see their logic, but there are at least two massive problems with the product. The first is the obvious one about not running "standard" android - stupid for all the reasons listed above..it's already getting nightmarish if you want your app to work well on the majority of android devices, and this just adds yet another undeeded headache..

    The biggest issue though is the screen - the biggest and imo only real selling point of the kindle has been it's e-ink screen. Touted as being easier on the eyes, much easier on battery life etc..it was supposed to be the perfect screen for an e-reader. Releasing this just kills that argument completely, and has got to leave you wondering what the edge is here..why go for one of these over any of the competition?

    We already have a Kindle app for iOS, Android and WebOS..so how are Amazon attempting to differentiate themselves here? Price? Well there are lots of cheap android tablets around with similar (and often better specs), but they have full marketplace access..much more appealing, even to your "average joe" (who would probably have picked up an iPad by now anyway).

    The one thing they could have done to help them is to appeal to developers and get them on side, but they have not. Epic fail Amazon - this will and deserves to fail imo.

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    I think we need to stop thinking of the Amazon Fire as an Android tablet.

    When you think of Android and the Amazon Fire tablet OS in the same way that BSD is to iOS, what Linux is to WebOS, and what Linux is to Android, it starts to make sense.

    I would argue that the use of Android is simply a short-cut by Amazon, and we should really consider it as mainly a new operating system based on the Linux kernel. It's thus a platform, just like iOS/iPad, that people are going to need to consider when developing, with its own store, and it's own rules.

    I'm sure we'll see it rooted soon enough and a 'vanilla' Honeycomb or other Android version will be able to be loaded. Until then, it's something quite a bit different - but I think it's going to quickly build up a pretty sizable share of the market, as it seems to be a great way to consume content with an interesting browser bundled in, at a price that is almost an impulse purchase.

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    In which case, if I was in that position I'd say "to hell with it" and just develop for those "few" non-Fire Android devices out there in the wild.
    And that's going to be the real decider, isn't it? How many of these things they manage to sell. If you end up with an android tablet ecosystem consisting of 30% amazon, 40% no-brand £99 specials, and 30% 'proper' tablets with a wide variety of specs, then I'd expect most sensible developers to target the lowest common denominator and code for the Fire first. In which case, the 30% 'proper' tablets would start to skew towards the lower end of the spec range too, since why would you need uber hardware with no apps that use it? Android tablets could end up permanently trapped as high-volume low-margin low-capability devices.

    On the other hand if you end up with 10% amazon, 10% bargain bin special and 80% of things like Transformers, Tabs etc. then certainly lots of developers are going to go after the full-capability end of the market.

    My worry is that high-end tablets haven't exactly set the world alight, and it's not impossible for the Fire to end up as the biggest-selling 'Android' tablet by a country mile.

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    Re: Opinions - The Kindle Fire could burn developers

    Quote Originally Posted by b0ned0me View Post
    [snipped] My worry is that high-end tablets haven't exactly set the world alight, and it's not impossible for the Fire to end up as the biggest-selling 'Android' tablet by a country mile.
    Thoughtful post - especially the bit I snipped. Personally speaking I feel really uncomfortable if Amazon are to advertise the Fire as an "Android device" - to the extent that if I was Google I'd be asking them to "cease and desist".

    One thing that I think is inevitable is that the pricing of the Fire will act as an antidote to that of Apple. From comments made here, and elsewhere, many people are convinced that anything other than Apple's pricing level is somehow "budget", i.e. crap. On the other hand if Fire gets popular (which being Amazon I would assume people would regard as reputable) then we'll see the price levels of Android tablets drop.

    To my mind - £300-£400 is probably a "reasonable" price for a good spec 10" tablet, and maybe £200-250 for the 7" ones. I was content to pay £400 for my Asus (tablet+dock).

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