Amazon Kindle Fire wants in at the workplace with Fire OS 3.0

Summary:The Kindle Fire is ready for work (and happy hour) with 'Mojito.'

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Image: Amazon

SEATTLE---It's no secret that the Kindle Fire is toted by many of its owners into the workplace, but Amazon is taking a more proactive role in encouraging that trend with the release of Fire OS 3.0.

Although Amazon execs revealed during a hands-on demo at the tech giant's Seattle headquarters on Tuesday that the moniker has been used internally for some time now, the launch of the Kindle Fire HDX today also marks the first time that Amazon is going public with the label of its Android-based operating system.

See also: Amazon distancing itself from Apple's playbook with Kindle Fire HDX | Amazon debuts revamped Kindle Fire HDX range, Fire OS 3.0 (pictures)

Amazon's vice president of Kindle, David Limp, also admitted with a laugh that Amazon is indeed following a cocktail-infused path in naming each version, mirroring Google's preference for sweets with the mother platform.

Codenamed "Mojito," version 3.0 is based on Android 4.3 (aka, Jelly Bean) and includes plenty of improvements tailored to further entertain consumers (notably more integration with the treasure trove that is Amazon subsidiary IMDB), but also enable them to be more productive as well.

"The reason we focused here is we know people are taking devices to work," asserted Jonathan Oakes, director of product management for Kindle, citing a recent Forrester study that the Kindle Fire is in "the top two" of BYOD-favored tablets.

"It's not like you have one device for your entertainment and [another for] work," Bezos argued. "The model really is that you have one device that needs to be able to serve both functions."

Along with taking advantage of the encryption abilities provided by the use of Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset, Oakes said Amazon has conducted "a lot of work" to top what is available in the native version of Android.

For example, Oakes specified that there are approximately 70 device controls that can be configured by IT admins in Fire OS 3.0 versus 27 device controls on Jelly Bean.

The updates framed for enterprise use are still rather basic compared to the onslaught crafted for entertainment, but they are likely to satisfy at least some IT departments with BYOD policies in place. Here's a rundown:

  • WPA-2 password-controlled Wi-Fi

  • Support for third-party mobile device management platforms and VPNs from the likes of F5 and Cisco (among others) via the Amazon Appstore

  • Kerberos support for secure access to corporate Intranets via Amazon's Silk browser

  • Software improvements for Microsoft Exchange as well as the native email and calendar apps

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Image: Amazon

Oakes also pointed toward the addition of the second-screen feature on Fire OS 3.0 in which users can send video and audio content to a second screen (ie, an HDTV) running an Amazon app (ie, via PlayStation 3) while continuing to work on other apps directly on the tablet simultaneously. Users just need to log into their Amazon accounts on both devices, thus bringing down the content from Amazon's ballooning cloud.

"It's a productivity machine — a true, full-featured tablet for multitasking and play," Oakes boasted.

During a hands-on demo with Amazon's chief and founder himself, Jeff Bezos echoed the same sentiments, suggesting that "the way that the enterprise market is evolving," employees might have tablets for conducting work and accessing corporate email while on the go, but there is no denying that they use it to watch movies and read books, too.

"It's not like you have one device for your entertainment and [another for] work," Bezos argued. "The model really is that you have one device that needs to be able to serve both functions."

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Android, IT Priorities, Tablets

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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