Amazon: Yes, We Know You'll Root Our Tablet

Amazon's no dummy: it knows that many consumers plan to get rid of the custom interface installed on the upcoming Kindle Fire tablet. In fact, the company isn't going to do anything special in regards to preventing customers from rooting the tablet and installing Google's full-blown Android or another OS. Amazon won't exactly endorse the process, but it won't attempt to prevent users from doing so either.

"It's going to get rooted, and what you do after you root it is up to you," said Jon Jenkins, director of Amazon's Silk browser project. Jenkins indicated that he wasn't sure if the bootloader was locked or not, but given that the tablet sports a USB port and a mass storage mode, anyone can side-load Android APK program files without having to root it.

Amazon likely believes that it's a losing battle fighting "rooters" given that Barnes & Noble's NOOK Color and HP's webOS-based TouchPad have been rooted and reinvigorated with Google's preferred Android OS. Despite the OS modifications, the Kindle Fire's underlying platform is Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" which isn't exactly tablet oriented. The actual hardware specs indicate that it may have enough juice to power Android 3.x "Honeycomb" -- specs that includes a 1 GHz TI OMAP dual-core SoC, 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage.

By comparison, the NOOK Color's underlying OS is Android 2.2 "Froyo," yet it turned out to be a decent rooted tablet for the money much like Amazon's Kindle Fire will. That said, here's a brief comparison between the Amazon and Barnes & Noble tablets:

Screen size
NOOK Color - 7-inch IPS panel, VividView Color Touchscreen (1024 x 600)
Kindle Fire - 7-inch IPS panel, Gorilla Glass coating (1024 x 600)

NOOK Color - 800 Mhz TI OMAP 3621 single-core SoC
Kindle Fire - 1 GHz TI OMAP dual-core SoC

Kindle Fire - unknown

NOOK Color - 512 MB
Kindle Fire - 512 MB

NOOK Color - 8 GB
Kindle Fire - 8 GB

NOOK Color - 15.8 ounces
Kindle Fire - 14.6 ounces

NOOK Color - Android 2.2 "Froyo"
Kindle Fire - Android 2.3 "Gingerbread"

USB Port
NOOK Color - Yes
Kindle Fire - Yes

SD Card Slot
NOOK Color - Yes
Kindle Fire - No

Battery time:
NOOK Color - Up to 8 hours
Kindle Fire - Up to 8 hours

Wi-Fi connectivity:
NOOK Color - 802.11b/g/n with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security
Kindle Fire - 802.11b/g/n, or 802.1X standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security

Yep. looks like Amazon is launching a NOOK Color clone, only it's using the BlackBerry PlayBook skeleton.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • aftcomet
    This is excellent. I wish more companies were like this, where it isn't encouraged, but they turn their head when it does happen.
  • antilycus
    Where does my NC have a usb port? Just to charge if that's what you mean (or hook it to O.S. as a filesystem)
  • eklipz330
    aftcometThis is excellent. I wish more companies were like this, where it isn't encouraged, but they turn their head when it does happen.*stares at sony*

    seriously, if my hp touchpad doesn't come in, i think ill throw in my cash for some amazon love. subscribe and save baby!
  • therabiddeer
    Why are all of these mobile devices sticking with 512MB RAM? With how cheap it is, why have they not increased this? More memory should have come before dual core or more, how do you expect to multitask if you are constantly low/out of memory?
  • There would be absolutely no reason to root the Fire. It would become totally useless. The device supports 8gb of on board memory. About 2gb will be taken by the Android operating system, and another 1gb set aside for apps. Without Amazons cloud backing it, you'd have only 5gb of usable memory at best. Plus rooting it would be a total pain because the only way to root would be by using the foreign method of adb through the usb cord. And you need dedicated developers.

    If your sole purpose for this tablet is to root it, why not just get a Nook Color? It would be easier, the rooted OS is a year into development, and can be found at a cheaper price
  • doorspawn
    Congratulations for being miles better than the rest WRT 3rd party OSes (3POs).

    But why not go that insy little bit further and actually be perfect (WRT 3POs) - be like a PC, laptop, etc: Claim that 3POs are totally acceptable and advertise this as a feature, perhaps even offer support (although obviously not for the chosen 3PO unless you want to).
  • AidanJC
    Root means something a little different where i come from =\
  • @FatAlbert
    "About 2gb will be taken by the Android operating system"

    That line alone says you have no idea what you're talking about.
  • whooleo
    It's GPU is a PowerVR SGX540
  • eddieroolz
    That's a refreshing change for once. Only if more companies would adopt this kind of an attitude.