Thoughts on [Amazon Kindle] Fire

I declared 12/26/11 "Bring your Kindle Fire to work day"

I haven’t mentioned my new Kindle Fire to a lot of people because my nerd friends think it’s a reason to start an “it’s not better than iPad” rant that never has any facts in it that apply to me or my situation. However, the less nerdy folks have been curious about it and I keep sending the same answers, so I figured I’d make a post about it here that I could add to as I wanted, that I could copy/paste from as wanted, and that might help you if you’re considering buying one. So here goes…

A friend asked:

What do you think of it?  I’m curious because from what I was reading it seems like it could be the first viable opponent to the iPad out of all the tablets.

I said:

I like it a lot. I’ve had an iPod Touch and I wanted something basically the same as that but bigger and a bit faster and this is exactly what the Kindle Fire is (except that it’s Android, so I some of the apps aren’t available). As far as a competitor, it depends on who you ask. The iPad is strong enough to actually be a light productivity machine while the Fire is really just a media player and web surfing machine. However, when you consider that media playing and web surfing are 95% of what you do on an iPad anyway…you have to decide if that 5% is worth 2.5x the price.

I think the biggest damage it’s do is to the iPod Touch & iPhone, not as a competitor, but as a price-dropper. If you need a media player you can take on walks, then the Touch is still the way to go. But if you want to use it around the house, why not get the bigger screen for the same price? The Touch already dropped from $250 to $200 to compete, I think it’s going to have to go lower. Plus, like it or not, the value of the iPhone is somewhat tethered to the iPod Touch, so the further they take one down, the further the other will likely drag. Which could indirectly drag the iPad price down too.

It’s not a direct competitor but it’s the best tablet that isn’t an iPad that I’ve seen, it’s backed by Amazon, and it’s priced to move. I usually have it with me. You’re welcome to borrow it for a while and play around with it. I haven’t had it long enough to start putting porn on it, so there’s nothing to hide.

# # #

KINDLE FIRE PROS

  • The 7″ screen is perfect for web viewing and games and movies are spectacular on it.
  • The Silk browser works as smooth as it’s name. It’s streamlined to move fast and maximize the screen.
  • The Micro USB connector would be better and more versatile as a Mini USB, but it’s miles ahead of the proprietary connections on Apple devices.
  • Some would consider the limitations of the Amazon app store to be a minus, but having gotten some cheap apps from Apple with no recourse for a refund, I like knowing that an actual person has seen and approved every app in the store.
  • It may be a screen instead of ePaper (or whatever Amazon calls the screen of the regular Kindle line), but I still find it pleasurable to read on this screen
  • It’s so large compared to my iPod, but still small enough that I’m considering getting a console mount for it in my car so I can use it as my MP3 player there. You’d have to be way more ego than brains to attempt to put an iPad up there anywhere.

KINDLE FIRE CONS

  • My only complaint about Silk is that there are times I click a link and I’m not sure if it’s loading the next page unless I scroll back to the top to see the status bar.
  • Outside use isn’t so great. The screen is more readable than a typical laptop, less than an iPod Touch, and far less than a Kindle — which you would expect.
  • I still don’t get why you would create a media playing device and not jam it full of memory. A 32GB SD card costs $20 on eBay, and you’re telling me that this only has 6GB and no slot? I know they want to emphasize the streaming, but let’s face it — “the cloud” is still a decade or more away from being omnipresent in the US, and with memory so cheap and small, there is no excuse to not put 250GB into a watch, much less a computing device of any kind.
  • I don’t know if this is specific to the Fire or if it’s an Android thing (I’m inclined to think it’s Android because I think I’ve seen it on other devices) but the process of selecting specific text and moving the cursor to specific places so you can edit is much less smooth than it is on iOS. Also, the predictive text and the way it chooses to automatically override is less intuitive on the Android device. On iOS, if it’s going to replace your ‘five’ with ‘finaglesnoggratten’ it tells you right by the word where you are writing and gives you the chance to kill it. On Android, it seems to do it right above the keyboard (and it recommends a lot of words that are really far from anything you might be thinking/writing), and doesn’t seem to tell you when it’s going to override and when it’s not, so you find out later, after you’ve already posted it to someplace like Facebook that won’t let you go back and correct errors. This makes typing anything on the 7″ Fire screen take three to four times as long as it does on my 2.5″ iPod screen, and that just should not even be possible.
  • Please let us have the Google Docs and WordPress app. Damn it.

# # #

I have some other comments I’ll post here as I find them. In the meantime, if you happened by this post and have a question, let me know and I’ll toss it in the mix as well.

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1 comment so far

  1. Mary on

    Yes! Those are exactly my feelings on the Kindle Fire. I wanted it because of how comic books looked on it, and because I already had a small library of Kindle books on my computer.

    So many people (especially the image-conscious people I work with) think I’m absolutely nuts for getting the Kindle Fire instead of the iPad. To them, the iPad is the ultimate status symbol. However, when I ask them what they do on their iPads, it’s always play Angry Birds, browse the web, or watch movies, THE SAME THINGS I DO ON MY KINDLE FIRE.

    Also, the Kindle is an Android device, and if I wanted to I could root it and do whatever my little nerd heart desires, like I did with my phone. I probably won’t do that, but just knowing that I have the option is awesome.


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