Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Dangerous to think of Kindle Fire as an alternative to the iPad

David Pogue of New York Times had this to say about Kindle Fire’s a cross between a Kindle and an iPad, a more compact Internet and video viewer at a great price. But at the moment, it needs a lot more polish; if you’re used to an iPad or “real” Android tablet, its software gremlins will drive you nuts.
Then again, Amazon tends to keep chipping away at the clunkiness of its 1.0 creations until it sculptures a hit. Or, as they say in the technology business: “If you don’t like the current crop of e-readers, just wait a minute.”
He also went on to speak about the different available models of the Kindle, with the catch being their prices:
This new Kindle is now so small, it fits in a pants pocket. But again, the news here is the price: $80.
The second new model, the Kindle Touch, is almost identical — but instead of navigating by clicking a four-way controller, you can just touch the screen. It’s beautifully done. This model, too, is available with ads ($100) or without ($140).
The 3G Kindle Touch is the only e-book reader on the market that can go online over the cellular airwaves, wherever you happen to be. It’s $150 with ads, $190 without. 
You might be thinking that the Kindle Fire is incredible for the price tag of $199; yes it is, but before you go thinking it's like an iPad for $200, that would a very dangerous comparison. Before you go ahead to purchase one, think of what you actually want from the device. The bottom-line according to David is this:
For one thing, the Fire is not nearly as versatile as a real tablet. It is designed almost exclusively for consuming stuff, particularly material you buy from Amazon, like books, newspapers and video. It has no camera, microphone, GPS function, Bluetooth or memory-card slot.
Now, choosing an e-reader is a big decision. Each company’s books are in its own proprietary format, and you can never sell or donate them. So if you choose, for example, a Kindle over a Nook from Barnes & Noble, the price for changing your mind will be very high. 
Walt Mossberg, of AllThingsD had this to say:
The Fire’s hardware is plain and clunky. It’s a thick black box with zero style. There isn’t even a volume control or a physical home button, and the on/off button is a small thing hidden inconveniently on the bottom edge.
In the quest to meet the $199 price point, Amazon omitted many features common on other tablets. There are no cameras or microphone, no GPS for determining your location, no Bluetooth for headsets or wireless speakers and no included earbuds. The Fire is Wi-Fi only—it has no built-in cellular connectivity. There isn’t even an included cable for connecting to a computer, something you may want to do to get photos into the Fire, since Amazon lacks an online photo service.
There is just 8 gigabytes of memory, half the total of the base iPad or the Nook Tablet, and only about 6 gigabytes of that is available to store content. If you want to download movies, you won’t be able to fit many into the Fire.
A big selling point for the Fire is a supposedly speedy Web browser called Silk, which splits the task of fetching Web pages between the tablet and Amazon’s super-fast cloud computers. The latter can cache common, static page elements and learn which sites and pages people most often use, so they are pre-fetched and ready to go when needed.
However, in my tests, the Fire’s Silk browser was noticeably slower than the iPad 2′s browser.
This pattern was consistent over scores of Web pages, and on four Wi-Fi networks and two different Fire devices.
I found it easy to buy, stream, download and use content on the Fire. Reading books was a pleasure, as on any Kindle. Movies and TV shows looked good, and music played quickly and well, despite weak speakers. In general, I found magazines and newspapers looked better on the iPad, mostly due to the larger screen. 
In my standard tablet battery test, playing back to back videos with the wireless turned on and the screen at 75% brightness, the Fire lasted 5 hours, 47 minutes, or less than 60% of the iPad 2′s performance on the same test, and about an hour less than the Nook Tablet’s performance. In more general use, I didn’t find myself worrying about the battery. But the Fire requires charging much more often than the traditional Kindle.
So if you are considering buying a Kindle Fire as an alternative to the iPad, that wouldn't cut it at all. Once it's not an iPad, it's not the same thing as an iPad. That might change in the nearest future, but as at now, that is simply it! The price point of $199 for Kindle Fire might justify your getting one to consume content with, from Amazon, but anything asides that will only leave you miserable.

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