Long before its official release date last week, everyone has been trying to get a handle on what the Kindle Fire is when compared to the iPad. Thanks to pre-ordering and one day shipping, I became the proud owner of this device on Tuesday. After spending a week playing on it, I believe I can give a fair review of what it is (and is not).
Price. With the Kindle Fire you are looking at a price tag of $199. If you buy the iPad 2, that price is $499. At less than half the price of an iPad, I can see Amazon winning over customers who want a tablet without breaking their budget.
Easy to use. Although it does come with a guide to help answer some common questions about the different features, the average person doesn’t really need it. Simply poking around is enough to figure out what you need to know. Even a six year old can find a story to read without much help.
Apps. At first I heard a rumor that Hulu and Netflix were not going to be available for the Kindle Fire. However, Amazon came through. There are also many more Android apps available for download through Amazon’s app store. For example, the $14.99 Quickoffice Pro is a great way to write something and save it in the cloud while away from your computer. I connected mine to Google Docs for this purpose.
Its connection to Amazon. Amazon hopes you will spend more money with them, and the Kindle Fire is a gateway to that goal. However, if you already have a good relationship with Amazon and a Prime subscription, the Kindle Fire is a nice addition. Between the free prime movies and lending library, the Kindle Fire is open access to many of their services.
Limited memory. The device has 8gb of storage, and no SD card slot to allow users to extend their memory externally. It’s probably because Amazon wants to push their cloud storage service, but it still would have been nice to have this option. Hopefully that will change in the future.
Its connection to Amazon. Because it is so heavily reliant on Amazon services, someone who does not like the company much will not like the Kindle Fire. You may not need Amazon Prime to enjoy movies (Netflix and Hulu are options), but you must rely on the company’s app store. As far as I can tell, you cannot download Android apps from the Android market. This can create some serious limits while we wait for Amazon to bring some more apps into their shop.
Have you tried the Kindle Fire yet? What are your thoughts?