Amazon Kindle Fire: No Nook Killer

The Amazon Kindle Fire is no Nook Killer, says Dino Londis

The Kindle Fire is no Nook killer. True, Amazon and Barnes & Noble each chose the seven-inch form factor for their tablets. But at the heart of it, these tablets are e-book readers. But if If I had to choose between pulling out my Apple iPad over my Nook right now, I’d always choose the Nook.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

That’s because I can often tuck it into my back pocket. I have to somehow strap on or otherwise hold the iPad. Its 9.7 inch size just isn’t a flexible reader for me.This is why, I bet, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos chose the seven inch size over the larger 9.7-inch size of the iPad. He isn’t making an iPad killer. He’s making a Nook Color killer. But it won’t work. As I said, the Kindle Fire is no Nook Killer. Remember, Amazon announced the Kindle Fire before it saw the Nook Tablet specs — or so we might assume. And consider:  Amazon has only one tablet entry in the market and B&N has two. The retailer is keeping its successful Nook Color, dropping its price to $199 and introducing the Nook Tablet at $249 or $224 if you’re a B&N member.

So the difference is about $25, about the price of the Steve Jobs biography.

Another difference: what you can do with the devices after you buy it. I rooted my old Nook Color a few weeks. If the new Nook Tablet  is anything like its predecessor, I might be able to root itself and free it of the walled garden Android 2.2 imposes. Rooting hasn’t been all roses for me, though. After rooting my current Nook, I found I couldn’t read my Amazon-purchased or lent books on it. That was frustrating.

I rooted it every which way starting with Froyo, then Gingerbread and then Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Then I tried Gingerbread again.
So you know, Gingerbread works best for rooting the Nook. I now have it dual boot to the B&N firmware or Android.  Because the currently shipping Nook boots from the microSD card first, I didn’t need to touch the firmware and risk bricking it.

It’s nearly impossible to brick it no matter how much a Luddite tries. And if you mess up the firmware by trying to root — beware of the how to instructions you find on sites online — fix it by interrupting boot processes eight times. Come on!

But I digress. Now with one tablet I have both my B&N and Amazon book collection. I have the entire Google Market, too. That was never the intention of either manufacturer, though B&N seems to look the other way if you root it.

If you cannot root your Kindle Fire, let alone duel boot it, then you’re at a distinct disadvantage over the Nook Tablet. Odds are you won’t be able to try without at least risking bricking the device.

The Amazon Kindle Fire doesn’t accommodate an SD card. And do you really feel safe messing with the firmware on a device you just plunked down $200 for?

Wait and see.  If you can’t, you can still get a terrific seven-inch tablet for $199 and even less for B&N members. The Amazon Kindle Fire could well be the tablet from heaven. But it isn’t killing the Nook. How it affects the Apple iPad userbase is anotherwuestion for another column.

For aNewDomain, I’m Dino Londis.

Based in NYC, Dino Londis is a columnist at BYTE, an alum of The National Lampoon. He also runs IT at a major New York City law firm. Follow him @dinolondis or add him on Google+. Got an idea for Dino? Email him at dlondis@gmail.com.

About the author

Joy Ma

Joy is executive editor at aNewDomain. Keywords for her are editorial and operations maven, writer. She has launched magazines, web sites and worked in manga and anime. Email her at joy@anewdomain.com.

7 Comments

  • I think you meant “dual” boot not “duel” boot…the concept of a duel is is a great metaphor in our virus filled electronic world… i’m sure some hacker out there might take on the challenge;-)

  • Maybe duel was a double-entendre — ie, Kindle FIRE! I looked at it again today and thought, nah, Armen is right. No one will get it! Nice job, Dino. I personally think Amazon is going after everyone — that’s Apple, Google … and it looks like it hopes to bury the Nook, too. Easy pickings for Amazon. But you do make a great argument!

  • It’s my understanding that the Nook Tablet is more locked down than the Nook Color was. It’ll probably be rooted eventually, but it’s not as hackable as the Nook Color was or the Kindle Fire is.