Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kindle Fire Initial Thoughts

Yesterday I received my pre-ordered Kindle Fire. First I must state that I have no prior experience with tablets or iOS so I am not going to compare my experience with Kindle Fire to anything else.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="470" caption="Kindle Fire"]Kindle Fire[/caption]

I was surprised with minimalistic packaging. When you open box that Amazon ships you will find only slate wrapped in plastic and small card. The card describes how to turn device on and how to unlock the screen. That's it. No user manuals, warranty cards, special offers. You also get small micro USB power supply but I bet you can charge Kindle from any USB port on your computer if you already got this type of cable.

Initial setup.
First step shown after pressing power button (I am not sure, but most likely device was only in sleep mode) is Wi-Fi setup. It worked without problems with my router. So far I haven't seen any connection drops. I got NetgearWNR2200 in 300Mbps mode and AppleTV2 is constantly dropping connections so I was skeptical but KF seems to handle it better. Second step was downloading of OS update and it took a while but no problems to report. At the end I asked about my identity. It looks like it was preloaded with my data so I did not have to enter anything about my Amazon account. It just registered my device.

User experience.
Finally it shows main screen which looks like bookshelf. Kindle Fire does not have any buttons so most of apps got think belt at the bottom of the screen to activate toolbar. It is not a big deal when you get used to it but some applications not written for Kindle Fire might have part of their screen covered by it. Device comes preloaded with all Amazon Android apps and without any Google apps. If you stay in Amazon ecosystem it might be sufficient. So far I cannot tell when I need to get something from outside. One of the applications I was counting to get was doubleTwist which is not supported yet.

When you looks at your shelf you might noticed that some stuff is on your device but a lot of media is offloaded to Amazon Cloud. I am ok with it. I already uploaded my music to their cloud so I can stream it instantly on this device. All my Kindle books also appeared automatically but when I tried to open Kindle downloaded a book from net. When you buy app from you desktop computer browser it will end up in a cloud too. You have to install it to the device later.

1-Click everywhere.
If you are Amazon Prime user and got it turned on you will noticed that it's extremely easy to shop with this device. It never asks you any questions so I am a little concerned if I can give it to my daughter. She might buy something without even knowing it.

I read reviews comparing this device to other tablets claiming slow performance and limited experience. Yes it is not iPad2 or any high-end Android tablet but if you are only interested in consuming media and you are Amazon customer it could be sufficient. I haven't tested any games that require a lot of GPU power but for casual gamer mostly playing flash games on internet it was fast enough. There are many things I haven't touched so far so later I might have different opinion. Right now I think that for average consumer it will be sufficient.