Amazon recently released the new Kindle family of electronic book readers – the classic Kindle, Kindle Touch and the Kindle Fire. The new kindle family offers the classic Kindle at lowered prices and a brand new table-cum-bookreader the Kindle Fire.
The Kindle Fire is built on top of Google’s Android operating system. What this means is that apps available for Android can be run on the Kindle Fire. It’s a big deal because the huge number of apps available for Android are instantly available for you to download and use.
Note: There were some reports that Amazon was blocking access to the Android Market and instead was redirecting it back to it’s own app store aptly called the Amazon App Store. As of today, Amazon has released an update the let’s you access the Android Market without any redirection.
While the Fire has been compared to the iPad time and time again by tech blogs let me tell you that the 2 are basically very different. The iPad falls somewhere between a computer and a smartphone while the Kindle Fire falls somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet like the iPad. It’s like comparing apples to oranges (or in this case – to kindles). To prove the point, using both an iPhone and an iPad you can check email, watch videos and play games. But you don’t carry an iPad in your pocket or use it to make a call.
The iPad is mainly an entertainment device – you can browse websites, play games, check your email and watch videos. The Kindle Fire on the other hand places a strong emphasis on consumption of content like magazines, books (purchased through Amazon, of course!) and the Amazon Prime video library.
Let’s see if Kindle Fire is really the device you need.
Small Size – The Kindle Fire is a small tablet device when compared to the iPad. Kindle Fire has a 7-inch screen size compared to 9.7-inch of the iPad. As you can see in the above photo, the Fire is much smaller than the iPad and if you like reading for longer periods of time then holding a Fire would be much easier than the iPad.
Price – In this economy, it wouldn’t hurt saving a buck. The Kindle Fire costs less than half of what the lowest priced iPad will cost your wallet. And if you’re short on cash this holiday season then you could purchase 2 Kindle Fires for lower than the price of an iPad. At $199 this looks like a bargain specially when compared to the Barnes & Nobles Nook Color which has similar specs but would cost $50 more at $249.
Amazon App Store - Just like the old generation Kindle, you can depend on the Fire to work closely with Amazon’s vast content library. And all the stuff your purchase is available at Amazon’s Cloud storage so that you can access that from Kindle apps for Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android and even Blackberry! There are thousands of apps for your Kindle Fire so that you never get bored!
Huge Kindle library - If there is one thing that blows Amazon’s competitors out of water is Amazon’s vast, vast content library. Want to subscribe to the NYT? the WSJ? sure you can on the Kindle. And guess what, more and more books these days are available for the Kindle and they’re often cheaper if you buy the Kindle edition. Double win!
Weight – The Kindle weighs just at 14.6 ounces. It’s light enough to have a nice read before having to put it down!
Unlimited Cloud Storage (for FREE) - The Kindle Fire has a “measly” 8GB built-in storage. While this is more than enough if you have a few hundred books, a few movies and some hundreds of songs on the device. But you don’t have to worry about running out of storage for your Kindle Fire because Amazon provides unlimited, free cloud storage for all the stuff you purchase from Amazon.
Amazon Silk - Tablets aren’t very powerful when compared to the heavy duty desktops and laptops we’re so used to multitask on. If you’re like me, you open several tabs on your web browser. But firing up a website on the tablet can be sloooow. But Amazon has addressed that too with this newly designed web browser. It has been designed from the ground up to work flawlessly and blazingly fast on the Kindle Fire.
Here’s a little demo of the Silk web browser -
No camera and microphone – In a world of constant texting, emailing and video calling the absence of a microphone and a camera is acutely felt. While it sure differentiates the Kindle Fire from all the other tablets, it will surely repel a lot of people for whom Skyping their family is an important part of their tablet experience.
I, for one, really like that the Kindle Fire doesn’t have a camera and microphone as having these surely distracts us from longer, immersive reading that has become so rare these days. Remember, the Fire was designed to be a reading device first and then a tablet. Just see how the Kindle has evolved and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
No GPS – Again, this is such an essential part of our lives that I think Amazon has done a big mistake of not building a GPS in the Kindle Fire. I don’t want to whip out my iPad just to look for directions when I’m holding a Kindle Fire. I hope, you neither!
Small built-in storage – While everywhere we go there is an abundance of free Wi-Fi. But if you travel a lot to places where internet access is a bit flaky then the 8GB built-in storage is really low.
While the Kindle Fire has it’s advantages and disadvantage (like every other device out there), I think considering the form factor, it’s usefulness and the majority of things it can do – it’s a great buy for everyone in the family alike. No wonder, it is the fastest selling product on Amazon this holiday season and a major threat to Apple’s iPad domination. And it doesn’t cost a fortune like many tablets that are not half as good do!
It’s just 2 days for Christmas. Why not order a Kindle Fire today to have it shipped just in time for Christmas!
What are your thoughts on the Amazon Kindle Fire? Please share it in the comments below…