Playing With Fire

I’ve had the Kindle Fire for a few days now and here are my impressions:

  1. The software layer that Amazon built on top of Android is smart and efficient. Not only does the interface hide the icon laden desktop that default Android features, but it serves the higher function goal of nicely integrating Amazon services and the various stores (e.g. apps, books, video).
  2. Battery life isn’t as good as I expected but my expectations were pretty high based on my previous Kindle experience. In retrospect, getting 7-8 hours with the screen lit and wifi on isn’t anything to shrug about, turning wifi off and backlighting down, which is ideal for book reading and game playing, drives battery life back up to Kindle expectations.
  3. Apps are aplenty. The limited device capabilities, e.g. no GPS, means some applications are handicapped but all things considered the fact that they launched with a rich market of applications is a big positive.
  4. The form factor is surprisingly comfortable. The rubberized back coating gives you a firm handhold and the device is pretty solid in terms of heft. I was also pleased to discover how comfortable this device is to type on, in portrait and landscape mode.
  5. Display is good enough for a range of activities from reading to watching videos. Bright and crisp.
  6. Performance is speedy and it’s worth pointing out that this is increasingly one of the attributes that you only pay attention to when it is deficient.
  7. The Silk web browser got a lot of attention when this device was announced. I really don’t get what the distinction between this and Chrome is. It works fine, I just don’t understand, based on my usage, why I am supposed to care about this as a unique feature.
  8. Wifi only is a plus for me, I use this mostly at home but when I am truly mobile I can use the tethering capability through my mobile phone. I explicitly don’t want a tablet that has integrated 3/4G with the additional monthly pricing plan attached to it.
  9. No camera… don’t care. Maybe some day I’ll do video VoIP but at this point in my life I can honestly say this has not been something that excites me. Take pictures? Why would I do that with a tablet?
  10. Complaints… yes, the power button is on the bottom and I have repeatedly hit it accidentally. The power button should be on the top of the device, like the iPad.

I have been using this tablet for just a couple of days but based on what I have seen thus far Amazon has a winner just in time for Christmas.