Well, the Kindle Fire has been announced and will be released on Nov. 15th. I have to say, I have not seen such an overhyped, unimpressive piece of hardware in years.
First, it is a 7″ Android tablet which has Android highly modified. I don’t know what other modifications they have made but most “highly modified” UIs have been harder to use than the base UI. However one modification I do know about is just silly. They have disabled the Android Market in lieu of their own, proprietary, market. So all the great software available for the Android? Yeah, unless the publishers submit it to two marketplaces you don’t get to install it easily.
Second, everyone is oohing and aahing over the price, $199. It’s as if noone has ever seen a $199 7″ Android tablet before. As of this writing there are no less than 7 such units for sale on Newegg alone. Granted, the specs for the Fire place it at the high end of the 7″ Android tablet market but given that it is competing against tablets released months to a year or so ago that isn’t surprising.
Of course being just another tablet means it gives up what make Kindles (and other similar products) such a great device as an eReader. Namely the E Ink display and it’s long battery life.
Finally, it isn’t as if we haven’t had the ability to read books on our Android tablets before. On of the first apps I installed on my Android phone was Kindle for Android. It was the first app I installed on my ASUS Transformer. Of course the second app was Nook for Android and Google Books came pre-installed. Hmm, I think we now know why the Android Market is disabled, eh?
So, in the end what is the Kindle Fire? It is a crippled 7″ Android tablet with a $199 pricetag. For $199 one could get one of several non-crippled Android tablets and still get the major selling point of the Fire, Kindle for Android. Aside from the Kindle name is there really anything going for this tablet? No.