First Impressions of the new Amazon Kindle Fire
UPDATE: See my new article here.
I received the “Fire” last night and this is my first – quick – look at it. I will be posting a LOT more about it later but I wanted to get this out as soon as I could.
This is ANDROID!
The first thing that I want to say is that this is an Android device. It is not clear which version of Android is running since Amazon has adapted it a lot. However, there is a lot of “future” in any Android device that is not locked – and some users have already been able to “root” the device. Don’t be surprised if there is a custom Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) ROM available for this bad boy real soon!
The display is FINE!
The display literally pops out at you. And Amazon says that it has a covering that protects the screen from scratches and such. Nor does it smear as badly as some other tablets that I have used. Finally, without any additional screen protection, it does not have reflection issues & glare like others.
Here are some quick videos of the event:
- Unboxing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GDf97qgrOA
- Auto-registration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRAtVZ25Up8
- Power-on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLE4xCMXbkA
The device is responsive!
The dual processor runs fast and is very responsive. There does not seem to be any delay and apps are fluid.
- The device does NOT include the Android Market – or any of the Google applications! This is a MAJOR problem. The GMail, Calendar, and Gallery apps are my most used. I like the voice-to-text and voice search. I will post more about this when I have answers. However, it appears that some users and developers have already overcome the issue.
- The Fire is missing some hardware that I think it should have. There is no camera, no Bluetooth, no microphone and no external storage (SDCard). Also, there is no physical volume control and the onscreen control is not always visible.
I knew that the Fire would be proprietary (focused on Amazon) before I ordered it. Although I generally avoid anything proprietary, I was confident that, as an Android device, the Fire would have support from the XDA developer community. That does appear to be reality and I have great expectations for what is coming out soon. So, my recommendation is that if you are considering the Fire, you might want to wait a few weeks to see whether Amazon adds some more hardware (or reduces the price).
But, the limited hardware may not be an issue when Google apps are available and all our music, photos, videos, etc are stored on in the cloud. However, at $200, the Fire is definitely a good deal!