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:
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
NOOK Color - POWERVR SGX530
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"
NOOK Color - Yes
Kindle Fire - Yes
SD Card Slot
NOOK Color - Yes
Kindle Fire - No
NOOK Color - Up to 8 hours
Kindle Fire - Up to 8 hours
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.