The homebrew community is anxious to get hacking the two new cheap tablets, the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire. There is a big draw to getting good hardware at a cheap price, and then changing the software to add features missing on the tablet as released by the OEM. Amazon is making this homebrew effort as easy as possible, as it has already released the Kindle Fire source code.
The Kindle Fire is based on open source Android code, and it is required for companies that use it to release their code based on the original source code. Companies usually take plenty of time to release that source code; Google only recently released the Android Honeycomb source.
Amazon is not fooling around with the Kindle Fire, it released it early, shipped it ahead of time, and is now getting the source code to the homebrew crowd. While I originally thought Amazon might take a dim view of those hacking its new tablet, I am happy to see that is not the case.
Now that the source code is freely available, we will start seeing custom software builds appearing for those who want to tailor the capabilities of the $199 tablet. To install custom ROMs (software builds) on the Kindle Fire, it will be necessary to first "root" the device, giving full privileges over the hardware. That has already been done by at least one intrepid Fire owner, so the way is clear for serious homebrew efforts.
Amazon can still decide to take steps to hamper putting custom ROMs on the Kindle Fire. It can do that in a number of ways, but it may just look the other way while it happens. The homebrew community represents a tiny fraction of the mainstream market that Amazon is aiming the Kindle Fire at, and it may just live with it. Let's hope that is the attitude it takes.
- Kindle Fire is on the way, but not for me
- Nook Tablet already in stores: Let the cheap tablet war begin!
- Amazon’s Kindle Fire: Snappy consumption, impulse purchase device
- Kindle Fire besting Nook Tablet with more third-party partners
- Kindle Fire vs. iPad heats up for holiday shoppers (survey)
- Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook duel plays out on retail shelves
- New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire
- Amazon’s Kindle Fire economics: A focus on lifetime value of customer
- Amazon’s latest Prime gambit: Kindle book lending