A Day of (Kindle) Fire

Monday, Nov. 21

8:50 PM — My buddy just dropped off his Kindle Fire. Major props to him for letting me borrow it. Time for some whiskey? I THINK SO!

9:01 PM — The box is very similar to what my $79 Kindle came in — simple, clean. Setup was pretty simple. I powered the device on, entered my WiFi password, and logged into my Amazon account.

9:02 PM — The power button is on the bottom of the tablet (while it’s held in portrait mode). I’ve hit it about a six times already, putting the device to sleep while using it.

9:45 PM — Spent about half an hour playing around on the Fire, sitting on the couch. I like how the Books, Music, etc hubs show “On Device” and “In the Cloud.” It’s a clever way of showing what’s been purchased, but not downloaded. Speaking of downloads, I’ve added several free apps to the device, and every time Amazon emails me about it.

9:50 PM — Heading to bed. Just checked my RSS feeds via Google’s mobile Reader webpage. Feels pretty 2007-ish.

Tuesday, Nov. 22

9:30 AM — At the office after sitting in traffic forever. The Kindle Fire didn’t seem to mind, as it was nestled in my backpack next to my iPad 2, which will be off all day.

9:40 AM — Here’s a stack of the gear currently on my desk, including my 13" MacBook Pro, iPad 2, the Fire, my $79 Kindle and my iPhone 4:

IMG 4105

The Fire is the same width as my e-ink Kindle and is just a little bit taller.

9:55 AM — I really dislike the 7" screen size. In portrait, it feels awkward, and in landscape, there’s not enough screen real estate to really see anything — especially if the keyboard is on the screen.

10:26 AM — The more I play with the Android apps that run on this thing, the more I think about the Classic Environment. It feels like these apps are just taped to the back of the Fire’s UI, just because someone realized this thing had to have some apps at the last moment.

10:31 AM — I meant to mention this last night, but I got my iCloud email working over IMAP in the built-in email client with no issues. However, I’m without my contacts and calendars. Oh well.

Screw This — I’m Done

I can’t take it anymore. I’m already tired of this device.

Look, here’s the thing: the Kindle Fire sucks unless you are earlobe-deep in Amazon’s ecosystem. Even then, the hardware and software aren’t stellar. It’s cheaply made with a small screen and a heavy chassis. The software is laggy and crashes at times. The weird UI means apps are never where you left them.

It’s just like the e-ink Kindles — a front-end to Amazon’s stores. (And unlike the e-ink versions, reading on this thing sucks, since it is a backlit LCD.) This thing isn’t an iPad killer. Hell, it isn’t even a Generic Android Tablet killer.

Now, I like my e-ink Kindle. But it isn’t trying to be anything but an e-reader. The Fire has a serious identity crisis, and as such, it isn’t good at anything, really.