Kindle Fire-Where’s The Value?
By Bill Templer
Kindle fire and Kindle Fire HD are a dedicated E-reader and tablet that just plain works. It is the recently released version of the Kindle e-reader and is the first full-color, touch-screen Kindle. Basically, it is a 7-inch diagonal iteration of Amazon’s Kindle e-reader series with many new pluses. Kindle fire is Amazon’s impressive innovative foray into the hardware business, after selling the Kindle reader for over four years, but it is definitely a leap forward.
Who Will Buy The Kindle Fire?
The Kindle Fire is for the people who will most likely never; ever buy Apple’s overpriced products. However, Amazon, very much like Apple, set its system up to keep you within the Amazon fold, a lesson it probably learned from Apple itself.
Although Kindle Fire
has stouter hardware overall it is not as powerful as the Nook. It has half the on-board storage and no SD card slot also available on the Nook, but it has over come these shortcomings by focusing on extending storage via the Amazon cloud system.
This makes it great for both parents and children and thus creating a broader range of customers especially since it has been introduced at $199.99, and with the introduction Kindle Fire HD, it now starts at $159.00, compared to the $499.00-$829.00 range for different iPad models. However, Kindle fire is not an iPad competitor, and therefore, it’s not a valid comparison. (Update) As of Jul7 2012, Google introduced the Nexus 7, also starting at $199.00 and created a whole new competitor to the market. Then Amazon fired back in October 2012 with the Kindle Fire HD also priced at $199.00. More about that later.
Whats Kindle Fire Got For Me?
Amazon is integrating all of its content with the Kindle Fire. Basically the Kindle is a store front for Amazon,com. You begin to realize the “coolness” of the Kindle the first time you download your favorite music from your very own personal cloud, or you start watching a streaming movie on your Kindle Fire and switch to watching the movie on your television set-with out any physical connection to the set.
The Kindle Fire is almost a small all purpose computer. With the ability to watch movies, TV shows, handle your email and scan web pages it is extremely versatile.
A couple of these apps-notably the email-I was not overly impressed with, but that may be just my taste. Although the web pages look nice and crisp in the landscape mode the screen is still too small for viewing the total page. In the portrait mode the page is too scrunched to be basically viewable unless you zoom and this means you are only viewing a small part of the page. Granted, these are small inconveniences compared to the total picture of the Kindle Fire.
So I ask you, when are you going to have time to read a book?
Kindle Fire Review
Kindle Fire Services
Speaking of reading, Amazon will lend free e-books to users of its Kindle e-reader devices. But with the availability of Amazon’s Prime (a subscription service priced at $79 per year) which provides a lending library of over 5000 titles with one free loan per month. Prime also provides over 10,000 streaming movies and television programs plus your favorite magazines. This availability has quickly blurred the line separating e-book readers and media tablets. As I have said, this makes it appealing to a very wide market in an extremely tough economy. It is now going head-to-head with several new devices in the ereader and tablet market.
In Its Heart
The Kindle Fire may be an Android 2.3 device but is totally Amazon in the interface. Unfortunately the virtual bookshelf is not really all that smooth and takes some getting used to. Once you are accomplished with this you begin to enjoy its many other features and the touch screen is so much easier to use for access to places you want to go.
Kindle Fire, even with its “coolness” is a sparse machine in today’s world of electronic connectivity. By sparse I mean no cellular connectivity that is seen on other competitive, but higher priced, products. Yet we can turn that little perceived flaw to our advantage in that it means no monthly subscription.
Kindle fire is quickly beginning to blaze as more and more consumers are placing pre-orders. Amazon released the Kindle Fire in mid November 2011. At approximately the same time, it is introducing a new Kindle-the Kindle Touch, and Touch 3G which are nearly identical to the Nook. The Kindle Touch is available for $99 and the 3G version is $149. With the 3G version you get free 3G wireless. Another interesting note is that the 3G supports text-to-speech, audio books and mp3 support. Amazon has been breaking into the world of publishing for a while and already offers a self-publishing platform-the Kindle Direct.
On the down side, unfortunately, it appears to be difficult to read in bright sunlight, which makes it more of an interior reader. I am not sure why that would be since that is not a problem on the other Kindles that use what Amazon calls e-ink. Maybe e-ink is not compatible with on screen colors.
With people increasingly turning to eBooks as opposed to reading physical books, the Kindle, Nook and Nexus 7 are all vying for the position of top dog in the industry. Amazon, at present, has a distinct advantage with its on line presence.
Nook was the first to open up the library lending program and at the same time various websites began to appear for person-to-person Nook reader title lending. Amazon, in the beginning, tried to avoid this as it apparently believed that it could control the market with ebook sales. It quickly discovered, much like IBM who did not believe that there was a market for personal computers or software, (you may be too young to remember that) but IBM quickly learned that consumer desires drive the market. So it is with ebooks and other electronic media.
Amazon has accomplished an incredible job of setting up its own store. Since Amazon has very deep pockets and more personnel they able to assign a larger staff to the kindle device and guide its evolution. It could even, and probably will, use the device to sell their other physical products to their users. Amazingly enough, the Kindle Fire has essentially been declared the winner on hype alone. Amazon has basically taken a leaf from Apple’s methods and procedures manual and decided on basic simplicity after designing the Fire.
Kindle Fire: Conclusion
Amazon has not said how many Kindles it has sold to date, but there is no doubt that it has produced a line of very successful mobile hardware devices in the Kindles. Unfortunately, it may face some challenges with app development and optimization. This will remain to be seen.