Amazon to pay royalties to Microsoft for using Android in the Kindle Fire tablet?

All major Android backers are now paying royalties to Microsoft for using Android in smartphones, even the likes of Samsung and HTC. Goldman Sachs estimated the Windows maker could rake in a whopping $444 million this year alone from Android patent pacts, easily exceeding Windows Phone licensing revenues. Now that the $199 Kindle Fire tablet has come into full view, the question arises whether Amazon, too, will run to Microsoft’s arms seeking Android patent protection.

The two companies last year had cut a cross-licensing agreement. However, the Seattle Times notes that the 2010 deal covers the existing Kindle e-readers but not Android, which powers the Kindle Fire tablet. TechCrunch’s MG Seigler, who saw early prototypes of the Fire tablet, described  a forked Android version which is at the core of the Kindle Fire experience:

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Amazon announces Newsstand for the Kindle Fire tablet

Just as we’re sorting through Amazon’s announcements related to their Kindle e-readers and the new Fire tablet, we spotted a press releasementioning Newsstand, an online store dedicated to the digital magazines and newspapers which have been optimized for the Fire’s seven-inch display. It’s pretty much like Apple’s upcoming Newsstand in iOS 5, only Amazon’s has more content. The company explains:

Hundreds of magazines and newspapers – including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Wired, Elle, The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan and Martha Stewart Living – with full-color layouts, photographs, illustrations, built-in video, audio and other interactive features are available from the new Kindle Fire “Newsstand.” Kindle Fire customers will enjoy an exclusive free three-month trial to 17 Condé Nast magazines, including Vanity Fair, GQand Glamour.

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Amazon rolling out Silk, new web browser for the Kindle Fire tablet


Amazon has just unveiled at a press conference in New York its inaugural seven-inch tablet and a new family of Kindle e-readers that now include the $99 Kindle Touch and the low-priced regular Kindle which retails for just $99. Seth Weintraub is on the scene and the latest information includes the news that Amazon will be rolling out its own brand new browser for the Fire tablet, named Silk.

The company set up a new blog for the Silk team and their first blog postexplains that Silk is “an all-new web browser powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and available exclusively on the just announced Kindle Fire. According to a promo clip included above, a “split browser” architecture (kinda similar to Opera’s Turbo mode) taps the Amazon cloud which caches files (limitless caching) and does the heavy-lifting, depending on workload. It’s a smart approach which offload page rendering to Amazon Web Services, resulting in faster page load times. And here’s what’s so smart about it, according to the Silk team:

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Amazon unveils new Kindle e-readers


Image via The Verge

In addition to the new Kindle Fire tablet, Amazon has also re-shuffled their Kindle offering at a New York event this morning. Our Seth Wientraub is on the scene and has the latest info. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has just unveiled a brand new e-reader with a touchscreen. The device is aptly named the Kindle Touch and costs just $99 for the WiFi-only version or $149 if you want to use it over 3G cellular networks.

They are shipping it November 21, right before Thanksgiving, and taking pre-orders today. Perhaps more important than that is the news that the regular Kindle now costs just eighty bucks. Plus, they are shipping the $79 Kindle today.

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Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire: Seven-inch display, no camera & mic, 30-day free Prime trial


Note: This is a mockup, not the actual Kindle Fire

Just as Amazon’s media event begins in New York, serving as a launchpad for their inaugural tablet, Bloomberg spoils the announcement by publishing key pieces of information about the device. It will be called the Kindle Fire, as rumored, and will cost just $199, which is a pretty big deal. The tablet has a seven-inch color display which responds to touch (just two fingersat once, though) and a “fresh and easy user interface” running on a forked Android version. Another biggie: The device will come with a 60-day free trial of Amazon Prime (a $79 a year value) membership.

Bad news: It has no cameras – not even a microphone. Heck, it even lacks 3G access so looks like the Fire will be a WiFi affair only. We’ll have more info soon as our own Seth Weintraub is on the scene in New York at Amazon’s press conference.

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is betting he can leverage Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce to pose a real challenge to Apple’s iPad, after tablets from rivals such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Research In Motion Ltd. have fallen short. Sales of Amazon’s electronic books, movies and music on the device may help make up for the narrower profit margins that are likely to result from the low price, said Brian Blair, an analyst at Wedge Partners Corp. in New York.

The analyst observes what all of us have known for a long time, that the Seattle-based online retailer has the most compelling ecosystem to take on Apple’s iTunes juggernaut:

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Amazon gearing up for Kindle Fire tablet launch with video and magazine deals


A mockup of a seven-inch Amazon tablet running a forked Android version.

As Amazon gears up to debut its long-rumored tablet on Wednesday at a media event in New York (a subtle hint of a media-focused launch), TechCrunch chimes in with a name. The Android-driven device will be apparently marketed under the Kindle Fire moniker in order to distinguish it from Amazon’s highly regarded family of dedicated Kindle e-readers. Manufactured by Foxconn, Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer, the gizmo should boast a seven-inch color touchscreen (not true multi-touch) and won’t have an email client preloaded, but users will be able to download one from its mobile application store or use a built-in browser for web mail, writes author  MG Siegler who first saw the device early this month.

Meanwhile, AlllThingsD’s Peter Kafka writes the online retailer is cutting partnerships left and right with Hollywood studios and magazine publishers. Amazon has now added Fox shows to its streaming catalog, Kafka reported today, explaining the deal includes shows Fox no longer airs and old Fox movies such as “Office Space,” “Speed” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. Also, at least three magazine publishers have thrown their weighg behind Amazon’s tablet project: Hearst, Conde Nast and Meredith. Kafka cites industry sources claiming all three publishers “have deals to sell digital versions of their titles on the new device”.

Those titles are allegedly optimized for Amazon’s seven-incher and terms are said to mirror the 70:30 revenue split offered by Apple’s iTunes content store. Even though its success is anything but given, conventional wisdom has it that the Amazon tablet should benefit from Amazon’s many cloud services and long-standing partnerships with content providers. What’s unique about Amazon…

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