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Reviews of Kindle Fire Are a Mixed Bag

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the pretty-good-not-bad-about-the-same dept.

Software 381

MrSeb writes "Ahead of tomorrow's full-scale launch of Amazon's new wunderkind, panacea, and lynch-pin of its continuing distribution domination, initial reviews of the Kindle Fire are starting to trickle in... and they're not as fantastic as we had hoped. Unsurprisingly, not a single review is denying that the bright screen, solid construction, and $200 price point make for a perfect holiday season outing — but to actually win the hearts of consumers, to steal those throbbing, Cupertino-captivated organs away from the iPad, the Kindle Fire has to be amazing... and it isn't. Throughout almost every review, one particularly telling observation rears its ugly head: the Kindle Fire can be sluggish. Page turns can lag. Menus can be slow to load. Screen touches can be unresponsive. For a device that is entirely about media consumption, the Fire will live or die depending on its perceived alacrity. If an E Ink Kindle or Nook is better for reading books, and a smartphone or iPad is better for watching movies or listening to music, what space is there for the Fire?"

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381 comments

Stock roms, lawl (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049976)

Let it get rooted, and optimized by XDA devs and we can see what the tablet can really do.

Re:Stock roms, lawl (4, Interesting)

Erbo (384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050162)

I came here to say that, or at least to ask the question: Has the Fire been rooted yet? Is it as hacker-friendly as, say, the B&N Nook Color?

Re:Stock roms, lawl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050362)

Yes, by the patent agreement with M$.

Re:Stock roms, lawl (2)

Erbo (384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050410)

Actually, now that I look at it, the answer would be "no." No MicroSD slot means no nifty bootable-card hacks like you can pull with the Nook Color, and (possibly) the Nook Tablet as well.

We are getting one (5, Interesting)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049978)

It's sole purpose is basically "grab that and look up x" device for the living room and game night in the kitchen. It's not for games, certainly isn't for reading (I have a real kindle for that), and sure isn't meant to replace my laptop for media consumption.

$200 isn't that bad for a little net portal.

Re:We are getting one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050070)

Aside from you already owning a Kindle, why isn't it for reading?

Re:We are getting one (3, Insightful)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050086)

battery life, most likely. it's the main reason i got a sony reader a few years back. sure, the screen's nice to read from but it's the battery life that's a massive benefit.

Re:We are getting one (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050150)

battery life, most likely. it's the main reason i got a sony reader a few years back. sure, the screen's nice to read from but it's the battery life that's a massive benefit.

What these things really need, all readers that is, is a means of holding it up over the bed so I can read with my hands under the covers. Arms get tired, hands get cold, while holding up a book. I'd love something which allows me to keep warm while reading (I tend to read a lot during the Winter) Maybe something with a headboard mount, or tripod with an arm to support it - and as I'm at home reading in bed, it may as well have a means of supporting the charger so I run it on house current, rather than the battery.

My tuppence..

Re:We are getting one (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050196)

I think manufactures have, indeed, solved this particular technical issue.

It's called, surprisingly enough, a 'laptop'.

Re:We are getting one (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050514)

Laptop is the solution while sitting, but if you're laying on the bed you'd still need some kind of holder to have it floating in front of your head. I've actually been planning setting up such a system before too. That would be fun.

Re:We are getting one (1)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050122)

I can't read for very long off a backlit surface with out becoming teary eyed. I know some (especially in the tech world) can power through a day with just a few minute breaks here and there from their LCD, but I have to get up and do something else for a bit before I can go sit down at my monitors again (both LED-LCDs). I don't know why but I get it at the Cinema too.

Re:We are getting one (3, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050166)

Many people, myself included, still find a reflective screen much more pleasant for reading large amounts of text.

Re:We are getting one (4, Interesting)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050396)

Would be nice if tablets came with that OLPC XO screen that switched between color with a backlight and black and white reflective for using outdoors. The black and white mode also had 3x the resolution, wonder how it would compare to an e-ink or iPhone 4 retina display for reading text.

Re:We are getting one (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050084)

It's sole purpose is basically "grab that and look up x" device for the living room and game night in the kitchen. It's not for games, certainly isn't for reading (I have a real kindle for that), and sure isn't meant to replace my laptop for media consumption.

$200 isn't that bad for a little net portal.

If those are its strengths, then why not just use a notebook computer? Well, early doors. Maybe they'll go back to their techs, beat them mercilessly with a frozen haddock, and updates will be forthcoming which sort it out and make it a little bit better.

Re:We are getting one (1)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050220)

The gaming table is already pretty full and I don't want to make room for my 17in MBP. The Fire on the other hand seems like it will fit the bill nicely since it's the same size as a Playbook which had a presence at the table for a while before it was stolen :/

Re:We are getting one (3, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050250)

> If those are its strengths, then why not just use a notebook computer?

Same strengths as the iPad, though. A "laptop that's not quite a laptop which never goes outdoors".

I just read both the reviews linked to, and the sluggishness was about the only negative thing, and as someone else just pointed out here, most people don't notice that sort of thing. You dragged the screen left, and the screen scrolled left. That's not something you usually get on the phone to customer services about.

It's a $200 tablet which looks like it compares pretty favourably with tablets costing 2 or 3 times as much money, with some minor disadvantages. I think that's a pretty good deal.

Re:We are getting one (4, Insightful)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050332)

Seriously? You can't hold a laptop in one hand, and flick it on and within seconds you're on a web page and passing it around to your friends.

Laptops are unwieldy devices, not meant to be pop on, pop off for quick info bites. Or sitting on a train doing something. I mean, it's possible, but its a huge PITA and not very fun. $200 is the perfect price point for these devices. Apple will have to play ball if they want to keep the market.

Re:We are getting one (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050100)

If you just need something to look things up online, why don't you use your existing Kindle?

Re:We are getting one (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050210)

If you just need something to look things up online, why don't you use your existing Kindle?

If you've ever tried to actually use one for net access, you would have never made that comment.

I love that I can access the net on my Kindle3, but it's usability is as bad as using a Tivo or Boxee to do the same thing. This may have changed with the new touch-based Kindles, but using a directional pad to orient a mouse to click buttons and links on screen near-unusable.

Re:We are getting one (4, Insightful)

adosch (1397357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050112)

$200 isn't that bad for a little net portal.

While I agree 100% with that, how many times over are you going to spend that kind of money to find the 'shining light' that holds it's weight against the iPad before ultimately spending enough of your own money on sub-par devices that you could outright owned an iPad?

No, I'm not a Apple fan boi, but the iPad is a pretty fantastic device. Nothing can touch it right now and I think what gets all of us as end-point consumers is everyone's marketing bullshit lately to get into the tablet market and make a quick, almighty dollar off all of us.

I think the e-Reader should remain an e-Reader. Period. Perhaps the slight reach to make it enough to casually surf the internet and check e-mail I can live with, but that's where B&N and Amazon are making their mistake IMHO: Taking something and making it something it's not. Let's not forget the iPad was a touch-screen computing device with 'e-Reader and multi-media capabilities' not the other way around.

Re:We are getting one (1, Interesting)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050190)

I am an Apple fan boy and I've never enjoyed using iOS. Until it ships with something else I won't own one.

Re:We are getting one (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050554)

Because most people don't need a $500 device to do what they want a tablet to do. The Fire does those things without being overkill, both on features and on your wallet.

With the Fire you aren't paying for 3G if you don't want to (pay a monthly fee for very slow internet access). You aren't paying for a bunch of storage that you don't need. You aren't paying for a camera and a microphone, which most people don't care about in a tablet. Apple packs all these features in that are little-used by most in order to maintain the high price point.

The Fire is important - either as "the tablet for the rest of us", or as the one that created a plan for a viable Android tablet: Not expensive, not requiring a cellphone contract, capable of browsing the web, capable of streaming video, capable of loading apps. The rest is just Cupertinoism and largess.

Re:We are getting one (2, Interesting)

RicoX9 (558353) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050614)

We got some iPads here at work to eval for use in various places. I was very underwhelmed. OTOH - My family and I really enjoy our Asus Transformer tablet. Whenever my kids are home for my weekends, a common question from my wife is "Where's the tablet?" I am very happy about not being tied to iTunes either. There's only one iPod left in the house, and it's a nightmare of support when she has problems.

Re:We are getting one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050636)

"Nothing can touch [iPad]" - as in I don't want to - too big and awkward compared to 7-inch tablets, or better yet, my 5-inch Dell Streak 5 or Archos 5. Those are "personal" size, and much more comfortable to hold for long periods. Conversely, putting an iPad "on a stand" can be done much more cheaply, and with many more options with a netbook, or (better yet again) something like my "Ueber netbook" Fujitsu P1620 (eBay, $160) - runs wide-open Linux quite nicely.

YMMV

Re:We are getting one (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050512)

$200 isn't that bad for a little net portal.

What would happen if they spent another $50 on the CPU and released a $250 version? I bet it would fly off the shelves...

Surprise (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049992)

A $200 tablet is unresponsive and sluggish? Shocker.

Re:Surprise (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050014)

Considering it's the same hardware as the Playbook this is surprising. All reviews said the Playbook was fast and responsive but lacked email etc. I guess that just shows the advantages of a RTOS like QNX over a Linux based Android OS.

Re:Surprise (5, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050178)

I don't think that has as much to do with the Linux kernel so much as that Android is based on Java. And large chunks of Android (along with 99% of the apps) don't use hardware acceleration. Google wouldn't allow it initially due to differences in hardware.

Now most everyone is using one of two types of GPU in all Android devices, and hopefully the software stack starts to take advantage.

The iPhone 4S takes full advantage of offloading all UI rendering to the GPU, which makes it seem snappy and responsive.

Amazon wrote a fairly customized version of Android here, so it is their own fault if they didn't take advantage of the GPU.

Re:Surprise (1, Informative)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050442)

based on Java

That should be irrelevant. Execution is close to native speed on Android. Heck, on the Desktop, the "Java is slow" is an ancient argument.

And large chunks of Android (along with 99% of the apps) don't use hardware acceleration.

Bingo.

But Amazon should have addressed this. As you say, with the Kindle fire, they essentially have the entire stack. They could have taken advantage of acceleration. And they've got the resources to make that happen.

The iPhone 4S takes full advantage of offloading all UI rendering to the GPU, which makes it seem snappy and responsive.

"seem" is a weasel word. Using the GPU makes it snappy and responsive.

Re:Surprise (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050582)

There hasn't been a lot of time between where they forked Android and several months ago, when you'd have expected the Fire's OS to be in a mostly completed state.

I'm guessing there will be updates that refine the platform more, especially as big as it's selling. Amazon is serious about it, so I've no doubt they will address it.

Re:Surprise (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050156)

The Nook Color, which is older than the Fire, doesn't feel sluggish with B&N's version of Android. The only time I experienced any sluggishness was when I booted to Honeycomb and ran quite a few things at the same time. If my last-year's $200 tablet isn't sluggish, then I would hope it's competitor's newer tablet would perform at least as well.

No thought on the UI (2)

ruckerz2k (653900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050016)

Adding the content for Amazon Prime members is enticing... but really, work on how the product feels in the hands of the user (user experience). Then you *might* take some users away from the iPad.

Not so sure... (3, Interesting)

chaboud (231590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050028)

"For a device that is entirely about media consumption, the Fire will live or die depending on its perceived alacrity."

Really? Given that previous Kindles have been relatively slow to turn pages, and that Hulu and Netflix playback on devices like XBox 360s, Blu-Ray players, and PS3s presents a somewhat less-than-seamless experience, are we confident that "good enough" isn't good enough?

Not everyone needs everything to be absolutely smooth and stunningly fast. It's nice, but it may not be worth more than doubling the price. Keep in mind that most Americans (and, really, the worldians) aren't geeks. Delays may be okay.

Will I buy a Fire? Probably not, but I still get that my relatively high standards for devices are relatively high.

Re:Not so sure... (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050186)

Really? Given that previous Kindles have been relatively slow to turn pages, and that Hulu and Netflix playback on devices like XBox 360s, Blu-Ray players, and PS3s presents a somewhat less-than-seamless experience, are we confident that "good enough" isn't good enough?

Given how (relatively) inexpensive the Kindle Fire is, I suspect you're right - although we obviously won't know for a year or so. But I could see this reputation being a problem if Amazon tries to follow the Fire up with a more expensive tablet that's meant to compete against the iPad.

Re:Not so sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050482)

But I could see this reputation being a problem if Amazon tries to follow the Fire up with a more expensive tablet that's meant to compete against the iPad.

How so? A more expensive tablet, meant to compete against the iPad, would almost certainly be faster than the Kindle Fire. All they'd have to do to market it is say, "50% faster than the original Kindle Fire", or however much faster it is.

Your mistake is in thinking they're going to compare the iPad and the Kindle Fire head-to-head. Unless they beat the iPad on each and every spec, at a lower price, that's not going to happen. And as much credit as I do give Amazon, I think the economic reality is that Amazon isn't going to be able to do that much better on the price. They'd need to sell a lot more media and apps to do that. Remember: Amazon treats its devices like kiosks. The point isn't to sell the hardware. It's to sell the media.

Re:Not so sure... (2)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050348)

Netflix playback on devices like XBox 360s, Blu-Ray players, and PS3s presents a somewhat less-than-seamless experience

Have you actually used it or are you just making shit up? The Netflix app on the 360 is stellar, and the version that runs on the PS3 and Google TV devices is pretty good, far better than the native UIs of those systems.

It's slow as two-legged dog on my iPad, though, so I don't use it.

Re:Not so sure... (2)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050532)

I use netflix on my android phone to queue up stuff on my LG Blue-Ray player. It's a near seamless experience. If I had a Kindle that I could do that with, then it would be much easier. I'm not spending $200 on a remote control, but an ebook reader for my wife for Christmas that doubles as a remote control? Now we're talking.

Re:Not so sure... (1)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050378)

People don't buy the 360, PS3 or BluRay to stream from Netflix. They buy them to play games, play games and play BluRay Discs respectively. The Netflix thing is just a value add, and people are willing to put up with a big of sluggish behaviour from a value add. If you bought a dedicated Netflix player and it was sluggish, you'd be pissed off.

Page turning slow??? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050034)

What are they doing? Using it to spy on the reader?

Based upon how long you spent on Page 327 of Cocking the Snook, which contained a lot of words we've run through our aggregator, here are a pile of books you also might enjoy...

Most embarrassing (5, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050052)

The most embarrassing part is that, like many Android devices, the Fire can't scroll smoothly despite having a dual core processor. Scrolling between pages is pretty important for an Amazon tablet. What is it about this task is so difficult? iOS 1.0 handled it back in 2007 on less powerful devices.

Re:Most embarrassing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050244)

My droid3 (as was my droid2) is smooth as butter. I haven't seen a Kindle Fire yet, so can't compare, but it should be possible to make scrolling smooth given the device specs. If this is really an issue, amazon can fix it with a firmware update (even iCompany pushes updates, as they can't get everything right the first time, either).

Re: iOS 1.0: remember, in 2007 the screen resolution was 480x320. That's a quarter of graphics data of recent devices.

Shockingly, lower price means cheaper experience (4, Insightful)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050072)

I know this is a shock to the fanboys who demand that companies arbitrarily lower prices because they don't want to pay $500 for a tablet, but if you strip something down to a cheap price, there are tradeoffs. You lose some of what people want. OF COURSE it's not as good as an experience as something costing twice as much. Why in the world is this a surprise? If you don't mind the cheaper experience, buy the Fire. If you want something excellent and you think it's worth paying the money, get an iPad. Those are your choices. You can't expect an iPad experience at a Kindle Fire price. Decide whether you want cheap or good, but don't complain that reality won't let you have both.

Re:Shockingly, lower price means cheaper experienc (1)

Naffer (720686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050142)

Yes. Clearly Amazon is trying to compete with Apple by stripping out some of the features and specs of the iPad to deliver a less expensive device. It's not intended to be a perfect facsimile of the iPad, just a device which can offer a somewhat similar experience for substantially less money. People will expect less out of a $200 device than they do out of a $500 device, and Amazon is hoping that they cut costs in the right places to make a device that people will buy.

Re:Shockingly, lower price means cheaper experienc (5, Insightful)

saider (177166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050216)

People were probably hoping that Amazon was selling the Fire at a loss and that they were actually getting a $500 tablet.

Re:Shockingly, lower price means cheaper experienc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050268)

The ipad isn't "excellent" in my books. It's over-hyped and overpriced. I use a Nook Color right now and it is fine. I'm going to wait for something similar to the Nook that has a camera and a $199 price. Bingo!

Re:Shockingly, lower price means cheaper experienc (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050392)

Did you read any of the reviews? They all say it holds its own against what the iPad does. Offers quick access to web and email, listen to music, and watch videos. Fire does it just fine for $200. iPad does it just fine for $600. Gee, wonder which one people will end up buying?

Re:Shockingly, lower price means cheaper experienc (4, Interesting)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050428)

No, that's NOT what all the reviews say. Some of the reviews say it does a poor job on really basic things, such as page turns. If you like that -- and want a cheapo experience -- buy it. But don't expect an iPad experience for Fire prices. It won't happen.

Re:Shockingly, lower price means cheaper experienc (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050494)

Oh no, not page turns. The end of the world. This matters not. It doesn't justify $400 price premium. If you can read books, browse pages, check email, listen to music, and watch videos for $200, it can do everything the iPad does for $400 less. Everything. None of the reviews say its unusable. None say its horrible. None say its not worth buying. All the reviews DO say it's the first iPad competitor they've seen, and mark it highly.

Re:Shockingly, lower price means cheaper experienc (0)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050550)

Believe whatever you want to, but the reviews aren't as positive as you claim. The reviews bear out that if you buy something cheap, you get a cheap experience. If that's what you want, you can save some money. I don't see what that would offend you. You don't get a premium experience for a cheapo price -- not in anything.

Re:Shockingly, lower price means cheaper experienc (0)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050642)

Wait, we think the iPad is a "premium experience"?

Nice try, Apple marketing guy.

Re:Shockingly, lower price means cheaper experienc (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050672)

If you don't think so, then don't buy it. But there's a reason all the other tablets are still compared -- unfavorably -- to the iPad. That's not exactly a controversial assertion.

It's for filling the fad for the less wealthy (5, Insightful)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050088)

I'm not saying tablets are a "fad"- they will be around for the foresable future. However, the public's response to tablets at the moment is "fadish".

It's the cool thing to have- especially for anyone wanting to look yuppyish and in the in-crowd. Not saying they don't have function for many people (although most people would still be more practically served by a netbook).

So someone needs to fill the niche for the majority of people for whom Apple and other quality tablets are just too expensive.

So regardless of whether kindle fire is any good- it will sell because there is a need for less wealthy people to feel "with it".

Re:It's for filling the fad for the less wealthy (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050230)

The reason netbooks got it so badly is because most people are NOT better served by them. Most people want a portable device to read, watch videos, browse the web, play games and perhaps write an occasional email or Facebook post. A tablet does all of those better except perhaps writing. Perhaps - I much prefer typing on a tablet to the tiny keys of a netbook. And for actual mobile use (you know, when there isn't a table handy to put it on) the tablet wins hands down in everything.

Re:It's for filling the fad for the less wealthy (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050422)

I'm not sure I agree.

You can stick a DVD or a Bluray in a netbook as well as stream video.

For browsing the web- how often do you not need to type something into google- a keyboard is the best way to do that (for most people).

If you often find your self wanting to stand up and use a device- sure an tablet would be better- there are other scenarios a tablet is better too- but I think for most people a netbook, whereas less cool, is more functional.

Like tablets though- there is a wide variety of how good the tablet is- some are crappier than others- and some are pricier than others. Some are pricey and crappy.

Re:It's for filling the fad for the less wealthy (1)

sco_robinso (749990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050552)

Speaking on not agreeing:

You can't stick a DVD or BR into most netbooks, because most netbooks don't have a disc drive (let alone blu-ray drive).

For a couple quick google searches, I don't think there's a fundamental difference between a physical keyboard and touchscreen keyboard. Most people are reasonably sufficient on both. Unless you're using the tablet as a primary device (which most wont), you're not usually typing tons and tons on it. Many netbook keyboards are also gimped. I'm probably faster on a tablet than I am most netbooks.

Netbooks are more functional, yes, depending on the usage. But isn't the whole point of a tablet or netbook a quick and dirty convenience device? To be more "functional" depends on the intended function. Tablets are more functional than netbooks at a great many things (media consumption). Media creation isn't going to fundamentally take place on a netbook OR tablet.

I'm not trying to poo-poo on netbooks, but really they're just small laptops. There's clearly a line in the sand when it comes to the functionality and convenience of a tablet vs. a netbook/laptop. I'd buy a tablet over a netbook in a heartbeat.

Re:It's for filling the fad for the less wealthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050680)

I think you are confusing "netbook" and "notebook". A "netbook" lacks the optical drive, and sometimes even a large hard drive in trade for 8GB+ of flash storage. Yes, 8GB was included on some models...

Plus, Google has voice search (to counter your other point).

Think of your usage in a vehicle. Unless your in an airplane, you likely don't have a "table". You have a crampt space. A tablet wins in this situation hands down.

On a couch/bed, its really a 50/50 scenario for me. If I am consuming info, I use my iPad. If I am writing stuff, I have my MacBook Air. I use both very frequently, and my iMac's even more when I am working.

Re:It's for filling the fad for the less wealthy (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050456)

The reason netbooks got it so badly is because most people are NOT better served by them.

So what's a netbook? Netbooks were sold as a category, but they really weren't any different than what had come before. Atom processor instead of Core processor, check -- so they have lousy performance. Otherwise all the components were exactly the same as a laptop. It was never much of a stretch to just drop the Atom and build a regular laptop with cheap build quality (which is pretty much what you see in Best Buy now).

Most people want a portable device to read, watch videos, browse the web, play games and perhaps write an occasional email or Facebook post. A tablet does all of those better except perhaps writing.

Boy, here I really disagree. I have an Android tablet and I rarely pull it out for anything. Most Web sites are still designed for a pointing device rather than a touch UI. Anything that requires typing, from word processing to Facebook to Slashdot, works better on a device with a keyboard. Tablets work great for Angry Birds, but otherwise I'm just not sure what they're good for.

Yuppy?! Nope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050470)

It's the cool thing to have- especially for anyone wanting to look yuppyish and in the in-crowd. Not saying they don't have function for many people (although most people would still be more practically served by a netbook).

I don't have one.

I'd like to get one - but I won't because I'm too cheap.

Why I won't get one - there's really no reason to get one. All of my reading material is still available at a better value on dead trees.

Why I want one: new gadget; eliminate all the clutter of magazines and books in the house; hacking programming interest - all in that order.

In other words, no pressing reason and I don't give a rat's ass about how I "look" - yuppy or otherwise.

"Yuppy"? Dude, it's 2011! Not 1981! Geeze!

Bad blurp? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050108)

The blurp looks like an advertisement for the iPad, or at least a 'do not buy a Kindle Fire' ad. Is this really worthy of /.?

Re:Bad blurp? (4, Insightful)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050270)

Are you suggesting that /. shouldn't run news that has a negative tone, or that they should have found a more positive blurb for the Fire?

It seems pretty fair and accurately representative of what I'm reading elsewhere. I don't see that /. has an editorial obligation to support Apple competitors no matter what the real story is.

Re:Bad blurp? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050558)

The blurp made it seem that the Fire has no positive things, that's all. That's why I asked the question.

I think the concept is great... (5, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050114)

The problem is people comparing it to an iPad2. It's not an iPad2. I don't feel sorry for anyone buying one thinking it's a cheap iPad2, nor do I think any reasonable people thought they would or should be competing for the same audience.

Re:I think the concept is great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050228)

I don't feel sorry for anyone buying one thinking it's a cheap iPad2, nor do I think any reasonable people thought they would or should be competing for the same audience.

Then you haven't been talking to non-techies. I work retail at a major electronics store and one of the most common questions I get is, "The new Kindle is just as good as the iPad, right?" I think that all of these reviews are accurate and that the device is going to be perceived as a failure solely because people perceive it as an iPad right now.

For most people, tablet=iPad. if kindle fire=tablet, it must also be the same as an iPad. Frustrating, but it's what people are thinking about it. Expectations are way too high, just like the original Xoom & GoogleTV and I think it's going to follow the same pattern. Great initial sales, then a huge slowdown as people realize it's not what they thought it was and stop buying it. I just don't know if there's any room for price cuts on the Fire.

$500 vs $200 (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050126)

Are they suggesting a $500 item might be better than a $200 item? I'm shocked!

The fact that a $200 item is competitive feature wise with a $500 item should make it the better value, no?

Re:$500 vs $200 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050336)

Put a radio in a go-cart and it has most of the features of a car. So that would make the go-cart a better value?
Somethings are just better and the value depends on the evaluation of the individual.

Re:$500 vs $200 (5, Insightful)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050342)

Depends what you mean by "feature wise". If we ignore screen size (7" versus 10"), memory (8GB versus 16GB), construction (plastic versus aluminum), UX (sluggish versus snappy), thickness (0.45" versus 0.34"), glass coating (none versus oleophobic), camera (none versus front and back), and bluetooth (none versus yes), the features are competitive.

The Fire may be a better value for you if you don't *want* the iPad's extra features, but it's not like there's feature parity for the $300 price difference.

Re:$500 vs $200 (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050516)

For what it is worth, iOS devices aren't always fast and snappy. I wait on my iPhone to respond all the time.

Tablets aren't carried around in pockets in most cases. A tenth of an inch in thickness shouldn't even mean anything to anyone.

I wipe my iPhone several times a day to remove fingerprints. Supposedly it is finger print resistant but I just don't see it. If the feature worked as advertised, I'd consider it a plus.

Amazon created a tablet that is primarily there to digest media. You can listen to music, watch movies, read books and surf the web. I think that covers most use cases for most people. The iPad2 does have more features, but is a camera worth an extra $300 when you have a camera in your phone?

Re:$500 vs $200 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050566)

tons of apps vs. none, tons of accessories vs. none, great integration with your PC or Mac, etc.
totally agree with your comment re:parity.

Re:$500 vs $200 (2)

figleaf (672550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050366)

To be fair one of those devices comes with a 2x plus markup over the manufacturing price.

what space is there for the Fire?" (3, Interesting)

daves (23318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050130)

If an E Ink Kindle or Nook is better for reading books, and a smartphone or iPad is better for watching movies or listening to music, what space is there for the Fire?

A $200 device that will do both.

Re:what space is there for the Fire?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050634)

Maybe I'm alone in the world, but I actually prefer the 7" screen to the 10" screen. I own a nook Color and it's just the right size for me to hold steady in one hand and manipulate with the other. I have a Samsung Galaxy 10" (about the same form factor as an iPad) and it's less convenient.

The only thing I don't like about the Nook color is:

* Sluggish (can't play a lot of videos very well)
* Poor/glitchy touch sensitivity.
* Custom UI not meant for general use (meant for e-Book reading and *very* light web use)

I'll probably give the Fire a shot simply because it should/might fix/improve the above while still being the size I prefer. Plus, I can buy it and screw over Amazon because I wouldn't buy any of their media on it like their business plan assumes!.

Futon of readers/tablets? (3, Insightful)

noldrin (635339) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050164)

Reminds me of the joke about futons, "a not that comfortable couch that turns into an even less comfortable bed, wow both those things in one!"

Christmas time reaction (1)

aztrailerpunk (1971174) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050234)

Mom, everyone knows that everything but Apple is stupid. I've got a better idea. Why don't you go across the street and buy some condoms because we should at least be safe if you're going to fuck me, mom.

Christmas time response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050602)

Mom: "Listen, you little shit, if a condom didn't break twelve years ago we wouldn't be having this argument. If you think you can bitch and whine about me spending two hundred dollars on you that could have just as easily gone towards whiskey and a new vibrator, you'd better start paying rent. You want the five hundred dollar tablet, you pay for it."

iPads suck as reading devices (5, Interesting)

dell623 (2021586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050248)

The comparisons to the iPad are ridiculous. I do expect the Nook Tablet to be a better device and The Nook Color has the least reflective LCD display I have ever seen on a mobile device and the only LCD display I consider good enough to read on.

However the iPad is a horrible reading device. Anyone who thinks an iPad is a reading device doesn't read much.

- the iPad has much lower pixel density than the Nook Color/ Tablet and Kindle Fire. You can see it. And peopel who read books aren't going to have much love for pixelated text.

- the iPad screen is horribly, unusably glossy. Basically the only situation in which you are not dealing with awful reflections is indoors when you manage to position the iPad so that no lights are reflected in it. Outdoor use? Forget it. The Nook Color as I said does a lot better.

- the iPad is big and bulky for reading. It's not about strength or being too weak to hold up something as light as the iPad, holding something iPad size at arms length for a while gets old really really fast.

- the iPad is not portable, it is nothing like a book. The Nook Color and similar sized devices like the Kindle Fire fit easily into a jacket pocket or a handbag, the iPad is a pain to carry around in comparison. The iPad is a coffee table device, not a true mobile device.

What we want from the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet is something that is easier and better to read on and carry around and is a lot cheaper than an iPad. An iPad is a luxury, \anyone who does any seirous work will also have a laptop. The iPad is osmething you pull out when a laptop is inconvenient. Well, 7" tablets are even more convenient, and a lot cheaper than an iPAd which costs more than a basic, extremely competent laptop does.

The other reason people will buy the Kindle Fire is the same reason people bought those junk $100-120 Android tablets. It's cheap enough to not have to think about. An iPad for a lot of people is a luxury, and something it's not hard to have second thoughts about. 7" tablets will give another reason to not buy an iPad. They are completely different devices, which will actually be more suitable for a lot of people.

Re:iPads suck as reading devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050376)

The screen glossyness can be remedied, but if you're going to modify the iPad, you may as well have bought something else.

The reason the Fire is more likely to fail than the Nook color is because of expandability. That's something that the iPad doesn't do without an addon. The iPad certainly has room for an SDXC slot, but doesn't have one without consuming the expansion slot.

But I think Amazon may have err'd by releasing a slow device. Why would you buy the next version if the current version is a POS.

Re:iPads suck as reading devices (2)

jds91md (2439128) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050462)

Boy, my experience is quite different. I think the iPad2 is great for reading. I like real books and audiobooks when I'm running or driving. Never thought of reading a book on a screen, but decided to give it a try. What a pleasure. The screen is great with good resolution and contrast, the page turning is quick and elegant. The device itself is lightweight and comfortable for holding. The iPad just does a lot of things well. Great for media consumption. Not so good for producing anything like email, but no worse than iPhone. I have no idea whether Amazon's Fire will turn out well. -- Josh

Re:iPads suck as reading devices (2)

WalrusSlayer (883300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050612)

The comparisons to the iPad are ridiculous. I do expect the Nook Tablet to be a better device and The Nook Color has the least reflective LCD display I have ever seen on a mobile device and the only LCD display I consider good enough to read on.

However the iPad is a horrible reading device. Anyone who thinks an iPad is a reading device doesn't read much.

Yeah, and despite all that, my Kindle Library pretty darned large thank-you-very-much. 90% of it read on an iPad, the other 10% on my 2nd-gen Kindle which was immediately given to the in-laws once I got the iPad. For my situation, reading on the iPad is a way better situation than the Kindle.

Re:iPads suck as reading devices (4, Informative)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050684)

As someone who regularly reads on an iPad, I'm not really there with you.

- the iPad has much lower pixel density than the Nook Color/ Tablet and Kindle Fire. You can see it. And peopel who read books aren't going to have much love for pixelated text.

I honestly haven't noticed the text being bad. Maybe I just don't know what I'm missing. A double-density display might be nice (comparing the iPad to the iPhone 4, it's noticeable, but not a degraded experience IMO.)

- the iPad screen is horribly, unusably glossy. Basically the only situation in which you are not dealing with awful reflections is indoors when you manage to position the iPad so that no lights are reflected in it. Outdoor use? Forget it. The Nook Color as I said does a lot better.

I agree with this. I got a matte screen protector because of it. I really wish Apple would deal with this problem.

- the iPad is big and bulky for reading. It's not about strength or being too weak to hold up something as light as the iPad, holding something iPad size at arms length for a while gets old really really fast.

I don't hold books at arms length. So I guess I never noticed a difference.

- the iPad is not portable, it is nothing like a book. The Nook Color and similar sized devices like the Kindle Fire fit easily into a jacket pocket or a handbag, the iPad is a pain to carry around in comparison. The iPad is a coffee table device, not a true mobile device.

I carry mine around in a handbag. I can't imagine having a 7" device in my pocket, jacket or otherwise. Heck, I can barely stand having a 3.5" screen phone in my pocket. It swings around annoyingly while I walk.

An iPad is a luxury, \anyone who does any seirous work will also have a laptop. The iPad is osmething you pull out when a laptop is inconvenient.

I never carry a laptop while I travel anymore. iPad in my carryon works great. I might throw a bluetooth keyboard in my checked luggage, if I think I'm going to have to do a whole lot of typing. Simple note-taking is fine without it, as are short, quick e-mails.

The other reason people will buy the Kindle Fire is the same reason people bought those junk $100-120 Android tablets. It's cheap enough to not have to think about.

Maybe. There are certainly more people out there who can afford not to think about a $200 purchase than a $500 purchase. I think $200 is still thought-provoking to most people. And anyone who reads specs (admittedly not most people) should be wary of the limited storage on the Fire. The Nook Tablet at $250 provides double the storage and expandability. If I were looking for a 7" tablet, that's where I'd be looking.

vs the nook color? (2)

johnck (782010) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050304)

I am a long time Amazon customer but when it came time to choose a multimedia ebook reader, the Nook Color was just the best deal for me. And to make it more attractive, it's easy to through android on there (though I prefer the stock firmware) and has the ability to let you increase the storage space via a microsd card. It's a great value and I've loved it so far. I heard about this new Amazon device and got excited that I might be able to do all the things I love from the nook, but now with Amazon. But no epub support, no microsd slot expansion, no thanks.

Donotwant (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050324)

I have no use for any locked-down toy computers. I disregard any such devices once I learn of their nature, although sometimes I take an interest again if they can be hacked (like the Nook Color).

Just wait.... (2)

GreyyGuy (91753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050334)

The difference will be the price point and ease of use. Sure- the iPad can do it all better, but for 2.5 times the cash. Other devices might be better ebook readers. But getting all of it for under $200? Technology history is full of better devices and technologies losing to "good enough". And the reviews seem to be saying it isn't stellar, but also seem to be saying it will do the job. And how many non-techie people read through all the comparison reviews? I doubt the typical Slashdot reader is Amazon's main intended demographic.

I wouldn't count it out yet.

What reviews have you been reading? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050352)

I haven't read a single review yet -- not a single one -- that's come down on the side of not thinking the Kindle Fire is an excellent device. What I have come across is reviews warning the reader that you're not going to get an iPad-level device for $200. That sounds like a fair statement to me. This article seems to be setting the Kindle Fire up as if it's already a disappointment.

Where's the objectivity?

iPad killers... aren't (4, Interesting)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050434)

I say this as somebody who doesn't have an iPad and can't figure out why people want one...

Apple really has pulled something off with the iPad that I think hasn't happened in a long time. There are finally serious competitors to the first iPad, but they're more expensive and not quite as slick. The Galaxy Tab is probably the closest right about now, but it's just not as good. Nothing comes close to the second one in terms of performance, and it's still just $500. This is aside from all the user-interface things that don't figure into the specs.

I've never seen anything like it. Apple released the first iPad almost 2 years ago and there aren't really any serious competitors. There are serious competitors to the first one, but they came out only just before the release of the second one! A brand new Galaxy Tab is still $500, is a lower resolution, and slower than it's also-$500 competitor!

The iPad is honestly the cheapest option, but the best anyway. A pretty interesting thing for Apple, even though their high prices are mostly a myth anyway (the cheapest laptop for the specs I wanted was a mac). As we see here, by cutting the price back (and even eating a loss) you lose functionality very quickly.

Re:iPad killers... aren't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050624)

A pretty interesting thing for Apple, even though their high prices are mostly a myth anyway (the cheapest laptop for the specs I wanted was a mac).

I don't believe you, this talking about laptops. There are tons of cheaper options, maybe not so much if you include "build quality" in your specs.

Ultimately, that's why I have one of each... (3, Interesting)

Doc Hopper (59070) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050496)

The E-Ink versions of the Kindle do what they are supposed to do very, very well. If I sit down to read a book on an E-Ink screen, I can read for several hours without eyestrain. The Kindle E-Ink UI is sluggish, but it is generally consistently sluggish, and my brain soon ignores the sluggishness. The slow page-turning stops mattering after a while -- it takes some time to flip a page on a physical book, too! -- and the lack of glare, easy-read screen, and ability to read in sunlight combine to create a pleasant reading experience.

I cannot sit and read for hours on my iPad. After a two or three-hour reading session on the iPad -- even with regular breaks! -- the world around me is fuzzy and I'm often nursing the beginnings of a headache. The Barnes & Noble Nook Color shared the same problem. I don't expect any different from the Fire. Close-range LCD creates eyestrain in many people, despite manufacturer claims to the contrary. I can't read an LCD comfortably outdoors in the sunlight, and the glare is horrendous in many situations.

The Kindle Fire, for me, would only be interesting to me as a replacement for my iPad. So what would I get for $200? A device that isn't a great book reader because I can't read for longer than an hour on it without eyestrain. And now reports claim it shares the same problem every Android device I've used so far suffers from as well: inconsistently sluggish performance. That's the very reason I own an iPad 2 instead of one of the many excellent, high-spec Android tablets out there. UI sluggishness bugs the heck out of me most when it's inconsistent, and I suspect I'm not alone in that observation. The human brain is an organ of prediction, and performance must be predictable to take advantage of that fact.

The Kindle Fire? Meh, I'll pass, while once again pondering the thought of selling my iPad 2. That is, until the next time I play Dungeon Defenders, want to surf quickly without firing up the laptop, or watch a movie when the kids are using the big screen. The Kindle Fire might survive in that ecosystem and might not. I see no compelling reason to pick one up.

Silk browser (1)

Control-Z (321144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050538)

I wonder how much of the sluggishness is due to the browser funneling everything through Amazons servers? If you want a consistent user experience the local hardware needs to handle retrieving and rendering, not a remote server. I don't want my browsing dependent on how much traffic Amazon is experiencing.

Can another browser be used on the Fire besides Silk, one that works like a traditional web browser?

False metric (3, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050546)

"For a device that is entirely about media consumption, the Fire will live or die depending on its perceived alacrity."

No, not at all.
That's the measure about whether it's an iPad.

It's not.

The fact is that (I believe) many people will be happy to save $hundred$ in exchange for a little menu-lag. The Fire will live or die depending on its perceived VALUE.

HP Touchpads failed as a market product, but FLEW off the shelves at a lower pricepoint. That has NOTHING to do with how 'quickly' it displayed stuff....that didn't change between the earlier and later sell-rates.

Capitalism 101, for those of you in academia.

More stupid company tricks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050548)

The kindle is fine and great at what it does. The kindle somewhat encroaches onto Apple's turf; fine, great.

The second Amazon stops the kindle from what it does best to grab more of Apple's market share . . . well, every crap reader is 'in tehr base killin their d00dz'.

Seriously, the touch looks like a good next step, the fire, if an overstep, needs to distance itself before it sullies the Kindle's reputation.

Disclaimer: I'm a Mac, the Wife(tm) is a PC . . . she has an iPad, I have a Kindle.

Most sluggishness is software issue wil be patched (2)

dell623 (2021586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050570)

Amazon don't release final products. The Fire sounds like buggy incomplete software like the Touchpad. The difference is HP were complete morons and released the Touchpad for 600. For 200 the Fire will sell like hot cakes any way and Amazon will bring out a software patch in a month or two. The hardware inside the Fire is very potent, and 512MB of RAM is enough for Apple so it is enough for anyone. Amazon have done a poor job of 'improving' gingerbread. But at $200, they have time to fix it. Silk is a stupid idea though, tablet and phone browsers handle current websites fine, so I don't see why we need Silk and its privacy issues.

No thanks (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050666)

I've got my fire-sale HP TouchPad as a couch companion. I don't read as much as I should, but buying DRM-hobbled ebooks (with their inevitably limited virtual 'shelf life') just doesn't appeal to me.
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