Amazon Kindle Fire publishers leak, used PlayBook as template

Sep 27, 2011
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Amazon Kindle Fire publishers leak, used PlayBook as template

The Amazon Kindle Fire tablet may be just a day away from launch, but further details of the Android-based ereader slate continue to leak. Originally tipped to be aesthetically similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook, thanks to a shared ODM in the shape of Quanta, there's talk that the Kindle Fire actually used RIM's tablet as a template. Still, it's software which will arguably be more important - or, to be precise, content - and the pipes are groaning with word of which publishers have lined up to be included in Amazon's roster.

The Quanta connection helped Amazon take a big shortcut in the Kindle Fire's design, so gdgt's sources claim, which had already helped RIM design much of the PlayBook. Rather than task its own in-house Kindle team, Lab 126, to get up to speed on developing a slate, Amazon supposedly looked to Quanta's existing experience with the PlayBook and the QNX tablet acted as a "shortcut" of sorts. Ironically, previous leaks out of Taipei have suggested that RIM demanded Quanta use its Taiwanese production facilities rather than those in China, specifically to avoid Chinese white-box vendors from copying the PlayBook design.

Amazon apparently came across some frustrations with processor choice - eventually requiring a slower TI dual-core chip than what's in the PlayBook - and made some tweaks, but there's still the chance that the RIM tablet's flaws could be carried over somewhat. Sources reckon the Kindle Fire is "supposed to be pretty poor" and little more than a "stopgap" until Amazon's more polished second-gen hardware drops in 2012.

The clunky early Kindle, however, suggests that customers may be willing to look beyond hardware if the content is right, and leaks point to that being the case. AllThingsD's sources have spilled a list of three magazine titans - Hearst, Conde Nast and Meredith - which have each apparently signed up to distribute digital magazines on the Kindle Fire. That could mean titles like Wired and Vanity Fair appearing on the new ereader.

"You’ve got beauty and design with Apple, which we love. But with Amazon you have marketing, and ease of use. We’re very optimistic." Unnamed publisher

Time Inc. has apparently been less enthusiastic, with a deal tipped "hopefully by the end of the year." Amazon is reportedly offering a roughly 70/30 split on sales revenue, in the publisher's favor, though each deal is being negotiated separately and there's flexibility in the percentages that rival Apple isn't willing to concede. For their part, publishers are supposedly tweaking their digital magazines to suit a 7-inch display, though with a mind to larger screens thanks to long-standing rumors of a 10-inch Kindle tablet in 2012.

SlashGear will be at the Amazon event on Wednesday, September 28, to bring back all the juicy details.


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