Mobile // Mobile Devices
News
11/15/2011
10:34 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Kindle Fire: Early Reviews Roundup

After one day on the market, Amazon's touch-based tablet draws raves, mostly.

Amazon Kindle Fire: Visual Tour
Amazon Kindle Fire: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Amazon officially began shipping its Kindle Fire touchscreen tablet Monday, one day ahead of the official Nov. 15 launch date. Early reviews are mostly positive, good news for Amazon but possibly bad news for consumers who may have trouble getting their hands one of the devices amid all the buzz.

Amazon officials said they released Kindle Fire early in an effort to keep up with heavy demand. "We're thrilled to be able to ship Kindle Fire to our customers earlier than we expected," said Dave Limp, VP for Kindle at Amazon, in a statement.

Amazon began taking orders for Kindle Fire on Sept. 28. Interest has been strong ever since. "Kindle Fire quickly became the bestselling item across all of Amazon.com, and based on customer response we're building millions more than we'd planned," said Limp.

According to some reports, Amazon increased its order to suppliers from 4 million units to 5 million units.

[The Android tablet wars are heating up. Check out Nook Vs. Fire: 5 Comparison Points.]

Kindle Fire boasts some impressive specs for a device that's priced at $199. The 7-inch LCD screen displays 16 million colors in high-resolution, at 169 pixels per inch.

In-plane switching technology provides wide viewing angles. A dual-core processor, reportedly from Texas Instruments, provides quick responsiveness. The device weighs 14.6 ounces, making it possible for most people to hold in one hand.

Kindle Fire also provides out-of-the-box integration with Amazon subscription services for movies, TV shows, games, and music. And it boasts a new browser called Silk that splits rendering tasks between the tablet and Amazon's big iron EC2 servers in the cloud. Amazon said the approach makes browsing faster than traditional approaches.

It all has most reviewers gushing. "The volume of stuff that's available for your brain to munch on is so immense and easy to grab that the Fire feels massive beyond its smallish frame--which, by the way, is sturdy and satisfying to hold," said Gizmodo.

The Chicago Sun-Times simply called it "a marvelous device," though it complained that the 7-inch screen "limits the Fire's reach" for some types of media.

Mashable noted that it provides "easy access to anything you have in Amazon's cloud, and a sense that this device and Amazon know you" and even found that it can double as a Nook.

It wasn't all positive, however. Wired.com said that "the Fire's browser lurches in fits and starts when swiping through already loaded Web pages." And The New York Times concluded that Kindle Fire "does not have anything like the speed and polish of the iPad."

To be fair, Kindle Fire is less than half the price of the least expensive iPad 2, which starts at $499.

The barbs don't appear to be impacting sales. JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth said in a note to clients that he predicts Amazon will sell 5 million Kindle Fire units by year's end and 20 million in 2012.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
jcampanella629
50%
50%
jcampanella629,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/22/2011 | 5:33:48 PM
re: Kindle Fire: Early Reviews Roundup
Actually, Android can be run on an iPad. Look up the iDroid project... But that's beside the point, he's not actually complaining about what OS the device is running on, but rather how what applications Amazon my let him install on the device within the Android operating system. For instance, it would be comparable to me starting my own line of laptops running Microsoft Windows 7, but then you can only use my office suite, not Microsoft Office, you can only run my ereader, my apps, and forget about running any other Microsoft Software on my brand of laptops, and only install applications from my store. I do own a kindle with the electronic ink screen that I received last year as a Christmas gift. It is great for what it was intended as an ebook reader (or to listen to ebooks being read to you) and a few of the simple board type games that I have on it. It's not good at web browsing. However the screen can't be beat for reading wherever you may be. If someone is looking for a ereader with a color screen the Fire may be for them. Amazon does tend to have the cheaper ebook prices due to it's publication policies. But for an all around does everything device my Asus Transformer is hard to beat. I can read my Kindle books on there (which I often do) I can read Nook books on it, I can read Google books on it. I have access to Amazon's app store as well as the Google Market. I can choose what apps and where I get them from. I am not limited to Asus apps. And these tablets have bigger screens than the Fire (10.1 inch vs 7inch) but still cost less than Apple's iPad and you are not locked down to what Apple, or Amazon, or Acme tells you you can install. Also the browser Amazon is raving about, well you can download Opera Mini that uses Opera's servers to compress webpages for you before sending them to your device for a supposed faster browsing experience.
YMOM100
50%
50%
YMOM100,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/16/2011 | 12:31:40 PM
re: Kindle Fire: Early Reviews Roundup
Can you run Android on your iPad? Can you run .NET apps on your Mac? OK, you probably wouldn't want to in the first place, but Apple is making their locked down water tight no competition allowed ecosystem their selling point. It has its benefits, but you ARE locked in to a single vendor: Apple.
Your comparison, as well as all the others that compare the Fire to the iPad, misses the point entirely. It was the media hyping the Fire to be an "iPad killer". All that Amazon wants to do is give users a cheap device that will pull through tons of content. Amazon does not make money on the Fire, but on selling content. Unlike Apple, which has a ridiculous markup on the iPads, but then gets next to nothing from you after buying it (unless you use the iFruit services on your iPear tab). The intentions behind the Fire and the iPad are drastically different and that shows in the tech specs and capabilities. The sole point of any Kindle IS to lock you into Amazon as sole provider, although there are tons of often free books from Google and other places that work fine on the Kindle.There is a lot of good content that doesn't cost a dime. And for the for-pay content Amazon just has the biggest selection at the best prices. B&N isn't bad, but across the board they are more expensive. And Apple? Other than iTunes they don't have anything. As I said, it is apples and oranges.
YMOM100
50%
50%
YMOM100,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/16/2011 | 12:22:30 PM
re: Kindle Fire: Early Reviews Roundup
Yep, even through CreateSpace you get as author 5 to 6 bucks for a printed softcover sold, for ebooks it can be even more. Traditional book deals give the author maybe a dollar per copy sold, if that. This is what happens when you cut out the middle man and are willing to put in the work for formatting and editing...although for ebooks there is not much editing, because Kindle & Co are rather stupid when it comes to format and layout.
ANON1237925156805
50%
50%
ANON1237925156805,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2011 | 8:56:30 PM
re: Kindle Fire: Early Reviews Roundup
First of all, the negative reviews that you cite hardly qualify as "barbs". They are two legitimate statements of fact/experience by reviewers who over all were fair and balanced. The observation about the browser is very significant; I'll look into this further before considering a future purchase because I use the web a lot from my tablet. With iOS5, Safari has become a very elegant tool; it's always been efficient, subject to 3G/Wi-Fi bandwidth..

To me though the big issue is content. I don't want to be locked into Amazon's universe, their cloud, their books, their music, their movies, not even stored on my PC (oops! Mac). The Galaxy and Xoom don't clip my wings in that way. Neither does the iPad though it gives preferential treatment to the "i" marketplaces.

(Re that last point: I don't like the limitations that Apple imposed on its Nook and Kindle readers, forcing you to go out to the website to make purchases rather than leaving that feature integrated into the reader apps. I hope that with Mr. Jobs gone Apple will see the value of reverting to its more open past. A strong selling point of the iPad is that one has a choice of content providers; I use all of them. It's in Apple's interest for its customers to be important to Amazon; if Amazon were to drop iOS support then sales of iPhones/iPads would eventually suffer. iTunes may own the music market but iBooks is an also ran behind both Amazon and B&N for now, at least in terms of number of available titles.)

The bottom line: For industrial users like me and for those who can afford the extra $$ for the wow factor and/or for the choice of content, the iPad is still the way to go. There are plenty of us so the iPad isn't endangered; at worst its sales growth may slow a bit as those on the bubble buy a Fire now rather than saving up for an iPad.

The Fire will bring millions of new users into the tablet universe, and once there they will stay there. It's netbook and low end notebook mfrs that should be shaking in their shoes.
StuChap
50%
50%
StuChap,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2011 | 7:17:12 PM
re: Kindle Fire: Early Reviews Roundup
I have the original Galaxy Tab and I have a Lenovo Thinkpad. I cannot ever remember using the cameras or GPS on those units and they do get used a lot by my family. I usually have trouble getting one for myself in the evening. My phone serves my camera and GPS needs. Just saying I do not see the lack of camera or GPS to be a big deal.
OtherJimDonahue
50%
50%
OtherJimDonahue,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2011 | 6:21:20 PM
re: Kindle Fire: Early Reviews Roundup
Amazon is already publishing its own books--and paying some decent advances.
AVToolman
50%
50%
AVToolman,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2011 | 5:58:30 PM
re: Kindle Fire: Early Reviews Roundup
Sure, I'd love for the Fire to have front and rear facing cameras, gps capabilities. But at this price point the Fire answers all of the requests of stand-alone e-reader users. It is a color wi-fi internet browser and e-reader with access to Amazon's plethora of offerings.
macdquad
50%
50%
macdquad,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2011 | 5:16:10 PM
re: Kindle Fire: Early Reviews Roundup
Sounds great - but doesn't this mean that readers are locked into amazon forever. If they expect to sell 20 million in a year, think of the monopoly pulling power that gives Amazon
booksellers will be priced out of the market and forced to close. How long before Amazon becomes the publisher as well?
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps – and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest Septermber 14, 2014
It doesn't matter whether your e-commerce D-Day is Black Friday, tax day, or some random Thursday when a post goes viral. Your websites need to be ready.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.