Kindle Fire: First Impressions

Transient

My Fire finally arrived last night. Although I've been anxiously awaiting this day for a while now, I think my girls were even more excited during the unboxing than I was. The new machine is beautiful. I'll just say that right out of the gate. The screen is bright and the colors are sharp. The home screen is laid out fairly well. It's vaguely reminiscent of how I remember some screenshots of Apple's book reader software. (I've never used that so I could be way off.) The touch screen seems to be slightly less responsive than my Droid X. My droid will react to errant brushes of the screen where it seems like the Fire needs a slightly more intentional, insistent touch. This isn't entirely bad but takes a little getting used to.

As expected, Amazon's shopping services are tightly integrated. Anything you want from Amazon is just a few taps away. The apps I've bought for my android phone are there under "my apps" on the kindle, too, ready for download. I haven't done a full audit, but it would seem I can redownload any/all of them. I've already done so for a number of them but I can't guarantee 100% coverage on that front.

There is, however, one glaring failure on Amazon's part here. And, to be honest, I'm actively considering returning the Fire because of it. I knew that the Fire would be tightly integrated with Amazon's services. It was actually a mild selling point for me. I knew that Google's Android Marketplace would not be on the machine. That's a mild bummer but I'm sure that'll be rectified sooner or later. But what I find completely unacceptable is this: if I open the browser and go to market.android.com, it actually launches Amazon's app store. I understand they'd rather people buy apps from their store, but they have no right to intercept legitimate web traffic and reroute to their own sites. I should be free to browse whatever I want on the web without interference.

If Amazon doesn't fix this, I'm seriously considering returning this and paying the extra money for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.  I'll take a slightly less integrated experience if it means I'm free to read whatever web pages I want.  I don't need or want someone to hold my hand or dictate to me what I can or can not read on my devices.  If nothing else, I'll root this thing first chance I get and run stock Android on it.

So please, Amazon, fix this.  This goes well beyond allowing only your app store.  Even apple doesn't block websites on the ipad.  You have no right to either.

The Kindle is Here!

I finally broke down and bought a Kindle.  I've been eyeballing them since the first one came out and have been daydreaming about them since the Kindle 2 pics first leaked.  After reading countless previews and reviews and raves and rants, I decided it was time.  Sure, it's expensive.  Yeah, it's "only a single function device."  blahblahblah.  The fact is I love to read, I live in a NYC apartment, and I already have an entire wall devoted to bookshelves crammed full of my books.  There's just not that much space here to keep buying more and more books.  Any my library hardly ever has what I want on the shelf.  When they have it at all, there's a waiting list.  So this makes a lot of sense for me in a number of ways.  I've had it for about an hour now so I don't have any deep dive experience with it as such, but as far as first impressions go, it's a big win.  And the first thing I did after browsing through the user's guide?  I bought Brandon Sanderson's latest book "The Hero of the Ages." Now if only I didn't have to work.