When Amazon launched their first Android tablet in 2011, they called it the Kindle Fire. That may have been a mistake, because while Amazon stopped calling its Android tablets the “Kindle Fire” in 2014, the public has not.
A recent conversation has reminded me that even though Amazon and the tech blogosphere refers to these products as Fire tablets, the public does not. The common name for Amazon’s tablets is “Kindle” not “Fire”.
Let me give you a few examples:
- When the Fredericksburg Book Festival announced they were giving away door prizes, the email said “Kindle” when the prizes were in fact Fire HD 8 tablets.
- When the Indies Unlimited blog published a post about sideloading ebooks on the Kindle, their screenshots all showed references to Fire tablets.
- When I brought my Kobo Forma to a lunch meeting, one of the attendees talked about reading email and browsing the web on their second-gen Kindle from 2012.
- When I was emailing with the A Forever Home dog rescue about donating a a Kindle for a raffle, their phrasing made it clear that what they really expected was a Kindle running Android.
Every time I have talked to a member of the public about Amazon’s Android tablets, that person referred to the tablets as Kindles.
It has happened so often that I don’t correct anyone, and I don’t even wince. Instead, I’ve taken the descriptivist’s opinion that language is defined by use, and if everyone uses a word a certain way then that is what it means.
Thus, Amazon has Kindles with LCD screens that run Android.
How long do you think it’s going to be until Amazon changes their branding to reflect common usage?