Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire image
photo credit: Amazon

The web is all abuzz about Amazon’s Tablet, the Kindle Fire. Naturally it’s being compared to the iPad. Well, I have to admit I already placed my order. I figure I have some time to cancel, although my gadget curiosity will probably have me getting it. Some of my thoughts…

It’s not an iPad killer and it’s clear it doesn’t try to be. It’s about half the specs so it seems clear to me that Amazon’s not going to market this by comparing it to the iPad. As for what will kill the iPad? If the iPad dies it will either be suicide or death by a thousand cuts. The Kindle Fire may be the first cut but I doubt it will be a deep cut. It may be less than an iPad but it’s significantly cheaper than the iPad and Amazon already has content for it. It’s not a “if we build it they will come” mentality. I doubt iPad sales will suffer, rather tabler sakes overall will grow.

It’s still an open issue if the Kindle Fire is for me, especially since I already have an iPad. While the Fire runs Android it seems to be targeted as a content consumption system, with that content coming from Amazon. I haven’t seen acknowledgment that content from 3rd parties, such as Netflix or Hulu, would be allowed on the Fire. Still, in my case that really doesn’t matter. I’ve gone through spurts of using Hulu and Netflix streaming but never really became attached to either one. I’ve recently gravitated to Amazon Video despite having both Netflix and Amazon available on my TV. I can’t say why I’m using Amazon more than Netflix, but I am. Some of it is simply because I have bought some videos from Amazon since the stuff I’ve actually wanted to watch hasn’t been on Netflix. Beyond what I’ve bought I’ve just stuck to browsing the Amazon prime videos when I’m looking to find video to fill time. If I add up what I spend with Amazon it’s around the $8/mth for Netflix streaming, so I just dropped Netflix streaming which puts me even more in the Amazon camp,

Other than when I travel I don’t watch video on my iPad very much (unless it’s web video or podcasts) and I’m not sure that would change much with the Fire, The smaller screen makes it less video friendly than the iPad (at least on the surface). The wireless only nature of it means video would have to be copied to it before any travel, just like my iPad. That’s disappointing since Amazon already has the videos stored in their cloud.

Then there’s Kindle books. I prefer reading novels and test-only books of the Kindle e-reader rather than the LCD of the iPad. I don’t see that changing with the Fire. I do use the iPad for manuals and other books that are either graphics rich or that I want to refer to while I work at my desk. The smaller Kindle Fire screen may make it less useful than the iPad for me.

I do subscribe to a couple magazines on my iPad and the Fire will probably be just as good for them, assuming they’re available.

After going through the above list it seems like the smart decision is to stick with the iPad. But assuming my curiosity gets the better of me and I get the Kindle Fire – would I sell off my iPad? Maybe, but it’s not a certainty.

My MacBook Air is closer to the definition of iPad killer for me. It’s small enough that it’s not much more cumbersome than the iPad when leaving the house.. The smaller iPad is still easier to grab and go or to use when there’s no desk or table available. (Although the Air is very usable on a comfortable couch.) Assuming the browser is capable, especially for my common sites, I could see being able to replace the iPad with the Kindle Fire although the smaller screen has me a bit concerned. I’m not saying the Fire is a iPad replacement, but for the way I use it, it just might be,

There’s still a lot of questions about the Kindle Fire, so it’s premature to say this, but I will anyway. If I was deciding between the iPad and Kindle Fire, and already had the Air I’d go for the Kindle Fire and save $300. If I didn’t have the Air I’d want some better mobile computing capability and would probably go for the iPad. I can also see having both, Like the HO Touchbook that caught fire when it dropped to $99 the Kindle Fire low price should help it out and a hacking community may grow around it. The Kindle Fire would be something I’d be more willing to hack or jailbreak than the iPad.