Some find Amazon's Kindle Fire makes a great dedicated Internet-radio device

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Issue Date: 
Nov 21 2011 - 1:05pm

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Last week Amazon made big news when the latest version of its Kindle e-book reader, the Kindle Fire, shipped. Actually, all the new functionality of the Kindle Fire makes it more like a tablet computer than a mere e-reader. And apparently, it's a really good Internet radio device.Kindle Fire

"The Kindle Fire is almost perfect for my favorite kind of media: Internet radio," wrote industry observer Matthew Lasar in Radio Survivor. "Its relatively small size, nice WiFi interface, attractive display, and simple speaker outlet make it a great dedicated broadband radio device."

The device is built on a "forked" version of the Android mobile OS, and as such, can run various Android apps (available in the Amazon Appstore). It can stream video, and offers a full-function web browser and built-in e-mail application. 

Taking advantage of the Kindle Fire's smaller size and lower price-point, it's more logical to use it for a dedicated, specialized purpose like Internet radio than, say, and Apple iPad, reasons Lasar. Internet radio Android apps also apparently work well, and look good, on the device.

"Pandora looks much classier on the device than it does on either my Droid X or my desktop screen. Leaning the Kindle horizontally against a paper book (oh the irony) just above my keyboard gives me easy access to the standard Pandora choices: like, dislike, skip, pause, and next. There’s plenty of blank space across the screen—no visual crowding, even with the ads... Ditto for TuneIn Radio... (It) looks and sounds great on the Kindle Fire. For me, TuneIn’s desktop interface is too big and its smart phone interface is too small. But on Kindle Fire it looks just right—just like an Internet radio interface ought to display."

Our own AccuRadio, by the way, worked and sounded great when we accessed it through the Kindle Fire's web browser (AccuRadio does not yet offer a dedicated Android app). What works even better is the beta version of our new AccuRadio user interface, available at new.accuradio.com

And, if you're a fan of on-demand streaming service Rdio: You can access it through the Kindle Fire. Or, might want to pick up the new Kobo Vox tablet, as it comes preloaded on that device (read more here).

Lasar, who wrote the Radio Survivor piece, teaches U.S. history and broadcasting/telecommunications policy at the UC Santa Cruz. He's written two books about Pacifica Radio, and also writes for Arstechnica.com. Read his column in Radio Survivor here.

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