Amazon Fire – First Impressions

tl;dr – Yes, this is The Holiday Gift of 2011.

For all the hype – this is easily the best tablet I’ve played with in a decade. From the unboxing experience (less than 5 minutes from delivery to browsing my ebook library) to getting comfortable and settling in.

Amazon has:

  • minimized all the parts of Android that annoy me (back button, overall cheap feel),
  • brought in all the parts of WebOS that I like (get me to my stuff, integrate the web throughout the OS),
  • brought over all the parts of about Kindle I love (remember where I was, stay out of my way)
  • and made it easy to sideload everything – ebooks, photos, music, video, address book – via USB.

At 7″, the Fire is terribly comfortable to hold in one hand and it makes tablet computers (iPad & TouchPad) seem comically large. Like the larger tablets – this is a great size to socialize around (unlike laptops or handhelds).

Unlike the iPad – I can easily see taking the Fire everywhere. Hell – I can see buying two – one that stays in the house and one that’s mounted in the car.

Oh, and there’s the bit about it having a fantastic web browser (that even makes it easy to bookmark) and WiFi.

Oh – and the revenue model is clear (it’s an extension of Amazon’s store, duh).