updated 06:34 am EDT, Fri September 7, 2012
Amazon Kindle Fire
Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD tablets have been confirmed to run Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich' by Amazon representatives. Amazon has steered away from listing the operating system in its specifications list, possibly because the device uses a much more heavily customized (or forked) version of the operating system than most competing devices. Unlike nearly every other Android tablet on the market, Amazon has removed all visible references to Google and uninstalled all the standard Google apps including the Google Play store.
The new Kindle Fire HD tablets follow in the footsteps of the original Kindle Fire, which also ran a version of Android 2.3 'Gingerbread' that completely revised the user interface and pointed users directly to Amazon's content services. The new devices also feature strong cloud integration with Amazon's servers giving users free remote storage of all content purchased for the devices through Amazon. In many ways, it could be argued that Amazon's integration with its services is even tighter than Apple's iOS devices with its iCloud and iTunes services.
Another detail that has come to light since the launch is that Amazon has integrated an ad mechanism into the operating system as well. When the device is in its lock screen, it will now show an Amazon ad including special offers for the Amazon store. While that will not necessarily be a deal killer for some users, the same ads also appear on the home screen in the bottom left-hand corner without an option to even pay to have them removed. As with the original Kindle Fire, Amazon is likely supplying the devices to customers at little or no profit.