Amazon Silk not just for Fire tablets?

Among hundreds of internet domain names Amazon has registered are a few that indicate at least the possibility that the company will bring Silk, its new browser beyond just Fire tablets.

Kindle Fire

(Credit: Amazon)

Fusible spotted a long list of domains related to Fire and Silk yesterday. Among them are silkfordroid.com, silkformac.com, silkforpc.com, silkfortablets.com and silkforwindows.com. Clearly some are defensive moves to fend off would-be typo squatters or other opportunists, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some of those addresses presage broader Silk usage later.

Another bit of evidence supports the idea of Silk beyond Fire. The Silk terms and conditions state: "If you use Amazon Silk on a Kindle device, your device will automatically send Amazon Silk crash reports to Amazon. You may choose to send these reports when using Amazon Silk on other devices." (Emphasis added.)

Starting Silk support with the Fire tablet is smart: Silk development is vastly easier when it runs on a single device rather than a vast array of tablets, PCs and smartphones. But once that's settled down, Amazon could go either way.

Keeping Silk as a Fire-only feature would mean the company can tout it as a feature that competitors lack. But if Silk is to serve a higher goal — driving Amazon e-commerce, say, or giving a foundation for a web-app store push, then Amazon would likely extend to other areas.

Two parallels are germane here. First is Chrome, which Google uses to try to catalyse a faster, richer, more useful and more dynamic web where people spend more time. Ultimately, Chrome serves as a mechanism to enable its other businesses, such as search advertising and web-based Google Apps services. (And conveniently, Google doesn't have to pay a portion of the search-ad proceeds to partners such as Mozilla that might drive search traffic.)

Second is Kindle. Amazon started its ebook readers as a hardware line, but it extended much farther when it released Kindle reader apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS X, and BlackBerry. The Kindle initiative clearly is designed to sell ebooks, not ebook readers.

The company's Silk FAQ says only that "Amazon Silk is available exclusively on Kindle Fire". What Amazon's deeper goals are with Silk remain to be seen, though, and I for one wouldn't be surprised to see it showing up elsewhere.

Amazon didn't respond to a request for comment.

Via CNET



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