So I Bought a Kindle Fire


Oops, should be the eco-system. In other words the first weak Android tablet OS, then the second slightly better tablet OS, and the lack of "HD" versions of Android software when tablets first came out.


I don't think it is that the tablets lack software. It is more that you know if you buy a Fire app through the Amazon store that it will be HD and work with the Fire. That was missing with the larger Android universe for a while.


No it isn't. There was a recent time when it was difficult to distinguish which Android app was HD and which was not. Or at least it was more difficult than how I can get them through Apple where I know immediately which works on iPad vs iPhone. With Fire the same thing - I know immediately that it works with the hardware.


It is so damn frustrating that I can't put Google Apps, or at least Gmail, on the Fire. Their native mail app lets me add a gmail account, but it doesn't function like a gmail account. My wife has 4 email addresses that forward to or are otherwise linked to her gmail account. Using the native mail app for the Fire, she can only send mail as the gmail account, which is never what she wants to do.

Do any of the other email apps for the Fire work with gmail better, supporting linked accounts?


I think this is exactly the reason these didn't sell anywhere near Fire levels. Wasn't the Galaxy Tab 7" $500 when it came out? Uh, yeah, for that price I'm buying a bigger Ipad, no question. It's no wonder that one didn't sell.

The ones cheaper than that were usually by Coby or some other crap brand and had shitty screens or some other issues. I know when I grabbed a Nook Color to hack into a tablet, it seemed the best option at $250 due to having reasonably good hardware, solid build, and a really nice screen despite lacking a few things like GPS or a camera.


The app selection right now for KFire is pitiful at best. I suspect most casual users are not going to want to sideload apps or root the system to use the Droid marketplace. Unless Amazon focuses on quickly attracting a lot more app developers, I don't see a 10" Fire hurting iPad sales that much.

Now that the Fire has been out a while, people are starting to get past the honeymoon stage, realizing it's just a limited mobile storefront for Amazon.


I look at the Fire as a Kindle extender, so people that want to read on a Kindle and do other stuff that is iPad-like will be happy with a Fire. There was a bad review of the Fire in the NY Times today. It very much reminded me of all of the "this isn't going to work" that was written about the original Kindle when it came out. Amazon has a pretty good track record of adjusting to consumer demands. The article also said that there is a new update coming in two weeks.

One criticism I seriously just cannot understand - is it so hard to click on the settings button to change the volume? Do people really need a physical button? I hardly every use the physical volume buttons on my iPad or iPhone. I must be an outlier based on the number of people screaming about no volume button on the Fire.


Well, for some reason, a lot of gaming apps don't have volume options (beyond sound on/off), so it helps to not have to close the game to adjust the volume. Also, as reported in many places, the touch feature can be a bit finicky. Something I hope they fix real soon.


ooo, the digital versions of Money magazine and Entertainment Weekly just came out on tablets (including the Fire). They're both very well-designed and contain all the content of the actual magazines, I'm impressed. And you get them for free if you subscribe to the magazines - both of which cost $15/year at Amazon right now.

And, of course, Entertainment Weekly especially has links directly to every movie, book, etc. they suggest to buy on Amazon right from the magazines.


Um... the eco-system for the Kindle Fire is the same as the eco-system for Android - just arguably worse.

The Amazon appstore lacks many apps that are available on the Android market, both because of more restrictive policies and because many developers just can't be bothered to spend their time on a store that only has about 5-10% of the penetration of the Android Market.

Secondly, the Kindle Fire is based on Android 2.3, which means there is zero native support. All the features introduced in 3.0+ which makes it possible to adjust assets and data to 7" tablets are completely missing on the Fire, making it a massive pain to work with. Hopefully this gets fixed by an upgrade of the Amazon OS to 4.0, but until then there is really no way that anyone can develop apps that are targetted at Kindle Fire without jumping through some very annoying hoops (i.e., I doubt anyone does).

No it isn't. There was a recent time when it was difficult to distinguish which Android app was HD and which was not.

That has not changed. For most Android apps, there is absolutely no technical reason why it should be split into HD and non-HD apps. Customer segmentation is a good non-technical reason, of course, but I'm not sure I'd applaud that as a consumer.


I think you're slightly missing the point. You are measuring the quality of the selection based on total apps. I am saying that even though there may be fewer apps, 100% of the Amazon selection work with the Fire. That is better (at least to me) in the sense that you don't have to worry about the HD vs. non-HD issues that you do in the larger Android system.


Ok - so what you are saying is that you prefer the walled garden approach, even though it means you miss out on a lot of apps which work perfectly fine on the Fire. I'd hate that myself, but obviously YMMV.

That is better (at least to me) in the sense that you don't have to worry about the HD vs. non-HD issues that you do in the larger Android system.

This is the part that makes little sense to me.

Firstly, screen density is the easiest and most trivial thing to filter by on the Android market for publishers. If you do not have an HD or XHD device, you should never see HD versions of apps. If you have trouble with a company offering HD vs non-HD, note who they are and simply stay away from them in future. I'm critical about HD vs non-HD versions in general, but there is simply no excuse for creating user confusion, IMO, when filtering it is so easy.

Secondly - the point I was trying to make - I don't see it as much of an issue anyway, since the Kindle Fire (along with all the other early 7" tablets) is not an HD device - it's down at ~160dpi which is squarely medium density territory. It is a "large screen" device, but since this is a class that encompasses everything from 4.3" phones to 7" tablets, that is pretty much a completely useless distinction.

All the neat features that allow developers to create apps that actually make use of that 7" screen didn't turn up till honeycomb. So essentially (except for the Kindle-specific apps, of course), all of the apps in the Amazon store are just bog standard Android apps.


So, something I wasn't aware of regarding android device support: anything you buy off the android market appears to have a "refund" option (that may be time or run-limited from the time the item was purchased?) that you can use to cancel and refund an order after you're downloaded and tried it. So, while it may be frustrating to have to un-buy something that you thought you could use, there isn't any actual monetary cost. You can just refund and try something else.

I've been playing with a CM7 touchpad, so there's been a handful of things that weren't supported, but the refund process was simple. I don't know if people know about that, but I feel a lot more comfortable buying things knowing that I can test drive them a bit before committing. It makes the android device fragmentation a little easier to swallow.


"major update" coming soon to address performance issues and some other things:


You only have a 15 minute window, though, so it is fairly limited.

On the other hand, many (if not most) serious app developers will refund your purchase if you just contact them as long as your request is reasonable (i.e., within a reasonable time frame... and not for a free app, as was the case with one recent request I got, heh).


The only thing I find annoying about the keyboard is the same thing I find annoying about pretty much all virtual keyboards: numbers not always available. I love the physical slide out keyboard on my phone (Sprint Epic 4G) because it mimics a real keyboard by having 5 rows, allowing for a top row of numbers. I loath having to hit the symbols button on a virtual keyboard to get to numbers because it makes typing in secure passwords a chore. But other than that, I've had no issues with it at all.

And is the sleep switch poorly placed? It's in the same place it is on the basic Kindle and the Kindle Touch. Are people actually complaining about it? I don't see why...

The only problem the wife and I have had regarding the touchscreen is with the silly carousel. The Fire seems to always want to navigate forward or backward rather than open an item when touched. I'd much prefer shelves like the way it handles the Books area than the carousel.


Just realized... The Fire doesn't have Bluetooth, right? So no way to connect a keyboard to it?


I'm not sure why people keep complaining about the location of the power button.

Turn it 180 degrees. Problem solved. EVERYTHING (except stupidly the slide-to-unlock screen) rotates perfectly.


One minor annoyance is that videos don't seem to flip while they're playing. If it starts playing in the wrong orientation (pretty common if I have it laying flat when I start the video, then want to pick it up), I have to stop the video, get the thing rotated, and then start it again, or it's upside down. I like having the headphone jack on the left just because of the way I hold the thing, so it matters to me.


Not true. One easy example is that my family loves "Where's My Water." You can't flip the device upside down, the power button has to be on the bottom.