The Kindle Fire (Mark Lennihan/AP)

In light of the hoopla made when Apple announced the iPad, evoking a thousand sanitary napkin jokes, it’s surprising how deadening the silence is over the name. Perhaps it’s because people are referring to it as both the Kindle Fire and the Amazon Fire. It’s that second one that I’m stumbling over.

The Amazon Fire does little to encourage me to buy a product. Rather, it makes my mind skip straight into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, where fires are the preferred method of clearing the land for agriculture.


A fire caused by farmers burns out of control in the Amazon state of Rondonia, Brazil in this October 1998 photo. (Janduari Simoes/AP)

So rather than finding a name that inspires me to read more and often, Amazon has found a name that makes me dwell on environmental damage. It’s a small step to wondering about electronic waste. Not the best tangent for a technology company to send a potential client down — especially if it wants me to toss an old iPad for a new Fire.

What is in a name? Perhaps I’m reading to much into it.

The Fire is a logical next step for a product named Kindle. And the original name had no dire background meaning. The man who came up with the name Kindle, San Francisco designer Michael Cronan, supposedly found inspiration in a Voltaire quote: “The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others and it becomes the property of all.”

All the same, a better name might have been the Amazon Frog. Everyone loves Kermit, right?