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.
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).
Amazon Prime is slowly and steadily chipping away at every barrier to a sale Amazon has – first it reduced shipping costs (both in time & price) then it turned watching a movie into an impulse buy, now with the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library it’s turning reading a book into an impulse buy.
This just breathed new life into my Kindle and re-instated my Prime membership.
Interesting thought exercise: What if an Amazon Fire came free with annual Prime membership?
At the beginning of the month – before I knew anything of today’s Amazon Fire announcement – I announced that Amazon (along with Mozilla and Samsung) were going to be tomorrow’s tech innovation leaders.
Scanning through the Amazon Fire page I was immediately struck by how it neatly integrates everything Amazon has been working on to date; eBooks, streaming media, frustration-free packaging, Amazon Prime – it’s all in there. (I’m sure local.amazon.com will be there next week)
Undoubtedly, this is a Sputnik from Amazon to Apple. The iPad was once the most vertically integrated, commerce-oriented, mobile device. Today, it’s the Amazon Fire.
Every single interaction with the Amazon Fire is a commercial one. Even just browsing the web..
Which means the Amazon Fire is also a Sputnik to Facebook and Google. There’s no need to encourage web publishers to include +1 and ‘Like’ buttons on their websites when every single request goes through your servers. There’s no need to get called on the carpet for dropping more cookies when someone logs out when – again – every single request goes through your servers. There’s no need to announce redesigned, more marketer-friendly page layouts when – lastly – every single request goes through your servers.
Many years ago, I smiled when I was crunching server logs and all the traffic seemed to come from northern Virginia. Tomorrow it may come from a small handful of EC2 zones. Maybe Amazon will be generous enough to forward the geolocation data in the Silk browser requests.
My Kindle‘s been dead since yesterday. My initial thought was that maybe it no longer liked being charged from the USB hub. I plugged it into the wall and the charge light didn’t come on.
Thankfully, it’s USB so I’ve got plenty of cables lying around to test.
I grabbed the USB cable from my Nokia e71, and the Kindle’s charge light is orange.
UPDATE May 06, 2009
I’m on the phone with Amazon’s Kindle Customer support right now. It’s not as immediately friendly and helpful as the “It would be easier to help you if you called us.” email made it sound.
Even before I described the issue, I had to justify who I was (irrelevant to starting the conversation) – that’s always off-putting and opposite from how people actually interact face-to-face.
Now I’ve been transferred to a Kindle Specialist (I thought that’s who I called originally). Once she picked up – it was resolved very smoothly in less than a minute.
If you fell into a coma when Business 2.0 had a roller coaster on the cover and woke up today, you’d have one more reason to double check the calendar. Amazon’s $400 Kindle eBook reader was announced today.
It feels exactly like all the eBook attempts over the last decade; ugly form-factor, proprietary DRM format, read-only, vendor-controlled titles, customers nickel-and-dimed after paying hundreds of dollars.
In other words – far more inconvenient and annoying than the media form it’s attempting to replace. Oh, and it’s Moore’s Law compliant? No thanks.
Damn good question. Sitting next to my Mac mini is a stack of CD just as tall. Decade-old backups of work, a substantial percentage of which is un-openable due to proprietary formats from long extinct companies and products. Compare that to the bookshelves of hardcovers and paperbacks I’ve moved with me for nearly two decades – all still fully functional.
If I could freely load up the ‘library’ of PDFs I’ve collected over the years or queue up some RSS feeds into Kindle, then maybe UPS and USPS should be concerned.
Unless you’re an eBook collector, there’s nothing to read.