Amazon’s new Kindle Fire is built for devouring content. Even if you weren’t going to make that assumption based on Amazon’s place as a general digital content retailer, the size of the tablet and the details released in the marketing make that clear. What is less clear is how thoroughly Amazon is planning to lock down their new toy to force customers to buy from them.
This line of thinking has led some customers to wonder whether it will even be possible to access content from vendors besides Amazon. To put that to rest, yes you will be able to load up just about anything that the Kindle Fire’s hardware can support. While the hard drive might not be terribly large, offering just 8GB of storage space to users, if you can fit a file on there then you can probably run it. There is no reason to expect a complete content lock down.
What does seem plausible from a certain point of view, however, is that Amazon would be willing to lock out companies like Netflix that offer services similar to their own. Amazon has, after all, spent considerable energy in expanding the range of their Instant Video library over the past several months and much of that will be accessible through subscription based streaming options for Amazon Prime members. Given that, why would Amazon want to accommodate the competition?
Fortunately this is not the case. In an interview way back in September, Dave Limp, Amazon’s Kindle VP, said that Netflix was actually one of the very few companies to have access to a Kindle Fire prior to the device’s announcement. Amazon is pushing for maximum available content for their users and this includes subscription based providers.
Will this extend everywhere? Probably not. Companies like Netflix and Pandora offer streaming media rather than outright sales, which seems to render them safe from Amazon’s perspective at the moment. Purchasing options, such as Barnes & Noble in the case of eBooks or iTunes for movies, are unlikely to receive the same sort of treatment. At the moment the majority of Amazon’s video, music, and eBook libraries are centered around outright sales of titles and integrating with competitors along those lines is not quite as easily justified.
Users will still, of course, be able to side-load content from any source they desire. Bought some music from Apple? So long as it’s DRM free, there is no reason for you to avoid throwing it on your Kindle Fire. The same goes for eBooks or movies, of which all formats should be accessible from Apps available through Amazon’s Android App Store if not natively supported. I wouldn’t be expecting to see a Nook App for the Kindle Fire any time soon, but there are plenty of reasons to draw that particular line and plenty of ways to read an EPUB eBook, should that be what you have in mind.