Kindle Fire – Whatta Ripoff

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.


3 responses to “Kindle Fire – Whatta Ripoff

  1. I’ll admit it, I’ve already preordered the Kindle Fire. Is there anything going for this tablet? Absolutely. Contrary to all the other Android tablets on the market, I already have a dozen reasons to get the Fire before it’s even released — that being said, I’m already a heavy user of Amazon services. With my Prime membership and Amazon cloud subscription already, getting it is a complete no brainer.

    And you don’t think the price is reasonable? Current Nook color sells for $250. The Amazon Fire at $200 already has more services for it and can do more than it does. I’m very interested to see what B&N will fire back with in light of the Kindle announcement, as I disagree with a lot of people who say that Amazon is giving Apple a run for their money — on the contrary, the Fire is not competing with the iPad at all, I think instead it’s a clear attempt to crush B&N.

    Yes, it’s a souped up e-reader. I love my 3rd gen Kindle, but at night when in bed and in the dark, I’ve started reading on my iPad, and when I get the Kindle Fire, I’ll be using that instead. For daytime reading and days at the beach, I’ll still rely on good old e-ink, but the Fire is going to be my mostly use-at-home device, with its wifi only connection but most of my gigs and gigs of music/movies/shows/stuff already in the cloud and free instant streaming of their media for Prime members, it’s going to be amazing.

    Apps are almost just an aside for me. But right now, I’m not a heavy user of android apps, and when I do, I already only get them from the Amazon app store… usually the free app of the day.

    • But notice we’re talking about two different things. You’re hyped up about it because of the service. I am pointing out that the platform is not special. They could just as easily have that service run on any other Android tablet. Some better than the Fire, some worse, some more expensive, some less.

      I’m not a big fan of vendor lockin, especially at the hardware level. That is why I have chosen Android devices over iOS devices. For example, I have a Motorola Droid because of the hardware keyboard, an option that is utterly impossible under iOS because the only hardware is from Apple and Apple has deemed that hardware keyboards are not what consumers want. A similar situation exists with my tablet because of the external keyboard that was designed for it.

      Why would I, with a $400 Android tablet that is more capable than the Fire is, want to shell out another $200 for another Android tablet which is stripped down, just to gain access to Amazon’s services? Since I know they are both Android I should be able to get the service here. If I can then considering the software as a positive for the Fire is misleading. If I cannot then it is most definitely a negative.

      • As someone with an Android tablet already, yeah I can see why you wouldn’t go for the Fire and I probably wouldn’t either.

        That said, I don’t have an Android tablet, and only because I already have an iPad and I haven’t been too impressed with the latest Android tablet choices. But your’e right in that the Fire definitely isn’t going to be a “true” Android tablet for me, but more like an accessory to all the Amazon services I already have and maintain.

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