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How Long Until Amazon Realizes That Not All Kindles Have E-ink Screens?

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.

Every time.

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?

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James October 22, 2018 um 11:17 am

I don’t think they should change the branding.

Calling the tablets Kindle Fire was a mistake and they’ve corrected it. The public still confuses the two, but it’s not harming their brand or their sales.

Going back to Kindle Fire will only cause more issues.

Chris Kantack October 22, 2018 um 11:56 am

I don’t consider this a problem. Nor does Amazon apparently. If you go to Amazon’s website and start typing "ki", you’ll see Kindle Fire as a search term. (3rd from the top on my computer.) Or just do a search on "kindle" and you’ll see plenty of the Fire tablets listed along with the "true kindles".

Art Kavanagh October 22, 2018 um 11:58 am

The last time I saw a laptop was about 1993. Resting on its side on the ground, it came up above my knee and I wouldn’t have liked to lug it very far. I don’t think any computer manufacturer has called any of its products a laptop for nearly 25 years. Yet the term is in common use. I think it’s because people feel stupid referring to computers as “notebooks”.

Nate Hoffelder October 22, 2018 um 12:07 pm

I’m not sure that is a good example. Dell sells laptops, not notebooks. the same is true for HP.

Art Kavanagh October 22, 2018 um 12:38 pm

I didn’t know that Dell and HP sell laptops (and I actually have a HP). I live and learn.

Xaver Basora October 23, 2018 um 8:24 am


I call them notebooks and the French Canada sites they’re called bloc-notes (notebooks)

I’ve never called them laptops because I find it silly and confusing
But that’s just me 🙂

James October 22, 2018 um 12:27 pm

I live in Texas where all soft drinks are 'Cokes' as in:

"Would you like a Coke?"
"Sure, I’ll have a Dr. Pepper."

But I don’t expect Pepsi too start referring to themselves as 'Coke Pepsi'. Not even for Texas.

John Stanton October 22, 2018 um 12:42 pm

Please post how to load epub books borrowed on Overdive to a Paperwhite or Fire tablet. Thank you!

DaveMich October 22, 2018 um 2:07 pm

I can’t say for paperwhite, but for a fire tablet your simplest option is to install the libby app from a link on your library website, and then use libby to check out, download and read the book, as libby is also an epub reader.

Javi October 22, 2018 um 1:48 pm

Congratulations Nate for the new design of the blog. I like it.

Nate Hoffelder October 22, 2018 um 6:21 pm


Danny October 22, 2018 um 2:04 pm

For me the Kindle will always be the e-ink device. The Kindle Fire the lcd device. They serve two different purposes (reading and reading/entertainment) so they deserve to have separate names.

FYI Amazon does not call the Kindle Fire tablets a Kindle they’re calling them the Fire.

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