Amazon’s Kindle Fire is new winging its way across the USA to salivating punters eyeing a bargain tablet and reviews are springing up. I would urge readers to check out the exhaustingly in-depth review from The Verge a read as it ticks all the boxes.
Overall, they think it’s a great piece of kit, albeit with a few caveats. Must notably;
The biggest problem for most users will likely be the limited storage the tablet provides. If you are storing lots of music and movies on the device, you’re going to have to get into management of those files pretty quickly, and that can make for an unpleasant experience.
Indeed. 6GB of usable memory is not a lot. But of greater concern is a point that I’ve raised before on this whole ‘fragmentation’ concept;
If the Fire doesn’t reach parity with Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich, all of the new “tablet” Android apps will be unavailable for this platform or require a second build which developers will have to maintain, and that seems untenable.
Furthermore, because the Fire is on Android 2.3, many of the applications offered feel like glorified phone apps. That works sometimes, but often it feels clunky and cheap.
On the day where Google open sourced version 4 of Android, the core software that powers the Kindle Fire is two generations removed from the cutting edge. There is no doubt that Amazon right now are probably taking Google’s source code apart in preparation for an upgrade in 2012 but it will, at least in the short term, pose a problem for developers which in turn creates less choice for consumers. The core idea of the Fire is great, but Amazon are causing some strife in their bid to become a bigger media content provider than Apple.
After reading the review, it struck me that the same thoughts I have on the my HP TouchPad apply here. As a tablet and flexible gateway to the web it is great, but there are major misgivings about the operating system and the way the manufacturer has implemented usability. These points go out the window however, when you factor in price. In both examples a cut priced TouchPad or a Kindle Fire are very difficult to beat. Engadget state in their review that “the Kindle Fire is quite an achievement at $200″, while The Verge succinctly state “this isn’t an iPad-killer”. Both statements are pretty much spot on in summing up the impact of the Kindle Fire.