Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX: A potential BYOD keeper

Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX: A potential BYOD keeper

Summary: Amazon's plan is to offer enterprises enough management tools so corporations accept the Kindle HDX in the workplace. Will it work?


Amazon has improved its latest Kindle Fire tablets lineup by making them lighter and revamping the Android-based Fire OS 3.0 so it's much faster and responsive. The big question is whether consumers will tote the Kindle Fire HDX to work and their employers will welcome the tablet.

One of the more interesting items with the Kindle Fire HDX launch was that Amazon went out of its way to highlight the tablets’ enterprise chops. Keep in mind that many tablet makers have touted enterprise features---notably Samsung---on the theory that consumers will take the devices to work. And while those tablets are at work it makes sense to make management as easy as possible for the information technology team.

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I played with the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX for a few days and found the latest version of the tablet greatly improved over its predecessors. The biggest difference---aside from the screen resolution that has been pointed out repeatedly---was the software build. The Kindle Fire HDX is just snappier and menus on the left are a nice addition. The Fire OS no longer feels like an Android overlay. Meanwhile, the hardware is improved with a price that's right.

Also: Windows 8.1 tablets vs. Amazon's Kindle Fire HD: Enterprise face-off | What's what with Amazon's Fire OS 3.x | Kindle Fire HDX: When can you get one and how much will it cost? | Kindle Fire HDX coming to the cubicle with the Microsoft Surface in its sights | Amazon debuts revamped Kindle Fire HDX range, Fire OS 3.0 (pictures) | Amazon Kindle Fire wants in at the workplace with Fire OS 3.0 | Amazon distancing itself from Apple's playbook with Kindle Fire HDX | CNET hands on: Kindle Fire HDX

What was also clear is that my iPad toting 10-year-old also liked the Kindle Fire HDX. The Kindle Fire HD last year didn't garner as much interest. Why is that point notable in a bring your own device overview? In a BYOD world, if tablet makers don't have consumers they won't get the enterprise. Period. Sure, there may be some cases---Microsoft's Office on tablets almost ensures corporate uptake of Windows 8 devices---but the way to corporations these days is through employees.

Indeed, Amazon's Kindle Fire was the No. 2 tablet being used for work in the U.S., according to Forrester Research. The Kindle Fire tied the Samsung Galaxy for work use in the U.S. and was No. 3 globally in work tablets. The catch: Samsung Galaxy is actually targeted at the enterprise. Apple's iPad is No. 1 among workers. While Forrester rates the Kindle Fire's BYOD potential highly it's worth noting that Good Technology hasn't seen similar developments on its network.

Now Amazon's plan is to offer enterprises enough management tools so corporations accept the Kindle HDX in the workplace. Forrester called the Kindle Fire a stealth BYOD play and Amazon is obviously ditching the quiet shtick and courting the enterprise. Samsung has a similar strategy with its Knox software on the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note. Apple also added iOS 7 updates that also help the enterprise.



The biggest different from the approaches with Amazon and Samsung are that they are more vocal about wooing the enterprise. Apple always touts enterprise wins, but has been relatively quiet with its corporate ambitions.

For instance, Amazon noted in a release that it would offer the following via a software update in mid-November:

  • Wi-Fi with WPA2 support for secure access to corporate data and SharePoint.
  • An updated email app that hooks up to Exchange easier. 
  • Wireless printer access. 
  • OfficeSuite built in. 
  • VPN native access. 
  • Hardware encryption.
  • And device management hooks to mobile device management packages.

Those features line up with the most popular enterprise mobility deployments, according to Citrix



Meanwhile, Amazon has bolstered its productivity app lineup with staples such as GoToMeeting and Documents To Go. If Amazon can get enterprise traction without doing much of anything, the thinking goes that a little enterprise love could really help out.

What's unclear is whether IT shops will adopt the Kindle in bulk. The jury is out on that one. Certainly, Amazon's hooks to MDM packages will help the Kindle Fire cause. And corporations are already used to Amazon via Amazon Web Services. In other words, there is a lot of familiarity with Amazon in the workplace so no one will cringe if a Kindle Fire shows up at work.

The one monkey wrench to ponder is that the Kindle Fire HDX won't integrate as well with Google Apps. Google's Android partners will offer those hooks for enterprises that use Google Apps a lot. The lack of a smartphone could also hurt Amazon's BYOD aspirations. Rest assured, Samsung will sell Galaxy smartphones and tablets to corporations in bulk. Microsoft will aim for similar deals.

One certainty is that Android is going to get more footing in the enterprise as Amazon, Samsung and Google all aim for corporate accounts with a weakened BlackBerry, a device unknown in Microsoft and Apple's singular iOS efforts. What's comical is that Android's cause in the enterprise may wind up being fueled by three different flavors of the mobile operating system.

Bottom line: It's likely that the Kindle Fire HDX is going to see more traction at an enterprise near you via BYOD.

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Tablets, Bring Your Own Device

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  • .

    How much did Amazon pay you guys ?
    • Why is everything with you a pay as you go site.

      I have been following ZDNet reviews and comments for years now and have never untill today found it necessary to comment on anything. Lately though I have seen that anytime a comment is made by a writer for ZDNet someone has to make acomment that the writers opinion must be being paid by the company. Really now. Just how ignorant must you be to write " HOW MUCH IS THE COMPANY PAYING YOU GUYS? " No one cares about those stupid comments. It may be fun to think that somebody really cares about youreight (8) word comment.
  • .

    How much did Amazon pay you guys ?
    • Maybe we'll have to start ragging on Android articles? :-)

      LOL. Maybe ZDNet just follows the money.
  • All Except

    If it only had a Wacom touch with a pen for taking notes it would close to perfect. At least for current available technologies.
    • I've used a Wacom Small Bamboo Digitizer and pen ($65, on Amazon) for CAD.

      The pen is wireless and doesn't need batteries. It's the best way to input to a computer, especially for lengthy, repetitive, or close tolerance work. It's an absolute must if you use CAD.

      You can easily hold the pen and touch type, not having to constantly put the pen down. I stopped using it for a couple of days and used a mouse. You can actually feel the difference in your wrist and hand (soreness) because using the mouse is not a natural position for your hand. Touch screens would be terrible for 8 hours of CAD work.
      • OneNote

        I use Microsoft OneNote on the SurfacePro often. It works well. I have tried on other touch screens since and it is not really usable.

        I did CAD work years ago before mice on a digitizer. I never really did like mice for this work and always wanted my digitizer back. Companies would never pay the price when digitizers were several hundred dollars.
  • BYOD is really CWCYH

    Bring Your Own Device to work has always been Can We Contact You at Home. Businesses and device makers who don't get their heads and products strait re. the fact that the user is in charge 24/7, not the office and certainly not Amazon will fail.
    • Like going on a field trip, or working at a remote site?

      You may get extra compensation, but you are at a place you don't want to be and you are really working 24 hours a day for the company.

      I think there are advantages to BYOD, especially if you like your device and the company hardware is old or slow. It may make for a better, more efficient day. But I think I'd prefer a big screen notebook with an illuminated keyboard and a sharp LED back lit display.
  • Good reading

    I enjoyed the overall approach on this write up. It made valid points and given the Android market share of the Kindle Fire line, it is a device (services in disguise) that shouldn't be ignored. I wouldn't mind testing it out with my company if they allow it. I am on call 24/7/365 already. I have really enjoyed my Kindle's over the years and, being a former programmer, I really enjoy all the different experiences that all of the devices and their OS's bring. I love it all actually. I think I need gadget intervention at times come to think of it.
  • BYOD? Not hardly

    The inability to connect to, or use any apps from, the Google Play store is a massive failure. There's no HDMI out, micro-SD, compass, or GPS in the standard version. It's locked down with a weird alteration of Amazon's own OS and is useless without a paid Prime Amazon account and if you do have an account it's for personal use. So what exactly makes this anything resembling a BYOD in a business environment?
    • Not too familiar with the enterprise are we?

      "There's no HDMI out, micro-SD, compass, or GPS in the standard version" Of all the features that a device needs these are the least important for a BYOD environment. The missing Play store isn't a big deal either since the play store is lacking when it comes to work necessary applications. You can sideload apps onto the fire so not having the playtore is not a big deal anyways. I'm guessing that you don't work in the enterprise at all seeing that you don't seem to have a good grasp on what is needed or expected.
  • Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX: A potential BYOD keeper

    Won't work. As long as these companies keep touting them as tablets the enterprise has no use for them. Its just not a usable form factor and has been rejected by consumers and businesses alike. There will be very little uptake on the kindle fire hdx.
    • I don't agree

      What you are starting to see now is 'tablets' that can connect to peripherals such as a full size keyboard, mouse, monitors (through HDMI no less), and printers. You can 'dock' a tablet and use it like a normal computer and then pick it up and put it in your pocket, backpack, or purse for mobile computing much easier than any current laptop.
      • Great, now you have to carry more

        So instead of using one device like a laptop which has all these features built in you want to carry a tablet, a mouse, a keyboard, and a docking station. All this to display on a tiny 7" screen so everyone has to huddle around you to view the tablet screen. That just isn't going to work in the enterprise.
        • Did you miss the part about the HDMI video out?

          You can send the content on the tablet to an external monitor or display. I believe Samsung is even working on doing this wirelessly. I hook my tablet up to a monitor all the time. You don't have to carry this stuff with you necessarily. I envision you'd have a dock type situation at home and at the office and just carry the tablet in between. I also see more integration with conference room setups in the near future.
    • Of course you'd say that because

      you think that MS's RT ( Rejected Tech ) will win the day. HAHAHAHAHA!!!! And they talk about Apple's Koolaid.......
      • No

        A lot of things can be said about LD, but not that he's pushing Windows RT. He hates tablets.
        Michael Alan Goff
  • i get really irritated with the pad crowd for not

    ...demanding pads function like laptops. i want to be able to download and save files to a device and not to some cloud drive (because they have so little internal memory) where I have to rely on an active and good internet connection all the time. I want to be able to plugin an external hard drive via usb. I want to be able to have it attached to a keyboard at all times and a reliable mouse. I dont know if you noticed but the finger is no replacement for the mouse.s

    All pads are these days are productivity sucking devices that waste time by not having a mouse and keyboard (where real productivity happens)

    Pads are and have become, however, glorious gaming conoles and glorious time wasters for kids and parents who watch too much TV and game too much. ...things todays pad devices excel at.

    I watch my nephews and nieces and their parents parenting by putting them down in front of the pad so they don't have to parent. Is it any wonder that kids gets super bored when they are not visually stimulated? The trick is to not let them watch TV or play games more than a half hour every day.

    I kind of agree with that mom, who one day when not being able to get her kids attention, got out a hammer and destroyed the XBOX in front of the family's eyes. Never again allowing a gaming console into the home.
    • Actually they can do all of the above.

      Not sure if you are talking specifically about Apple products or tablets in general. I have a keyboard and mouse attached via bluetooth to my tablet (android). It also has a micro usb out and I bought a micro to regular usb converter for a couple bucks. It's small and easy to carry. With it I can hook up thumb drives and external hard drives. I've also plugged in a usb keyboard and it worked fine as well. Plus mine comes with an external SD memory card slot so I can add memory that way. And they are only going to get more and more capable as they go.