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Amazon Kindle Fire Review

Facebook Marketing All In One For DummiesSo I got my Amazon Kindle Fire in the mail yesterday. While teardowns and the like report general unremarkable results, I’m going to argue with them and say that, for many, this is the Kindle we’ve been looking for.

First, in short, it does everything Amazon says it does – and it does it well. The bookstore is perfect, the video is crisp, the app store integration FINALLY GIVES ITUNES A REAL COMPETITOR, the web browser is fast enough (my iPad still beats it, even without Amazon Silk), the audio sounds great, it’s the whole package.

When the iPad first came out everyone said it was more of a consumption device than it was a productivity device. While in some ways I agreed (it was an issue of software, not design at launch), I can’t find a better term for the Kindle Fire than a media consumption device. If you’re looking to do any productive tasks on this device, a) it’s gonna be slow, and b) you’re missing the point of the device.

Kindle is all about consumption. Kindle is all about consumption. Kindle is all about consumption.

Amazon sells things that people consume. Their move to the digital realm of consumption not only makes sense financially but also kicks some serious butt in the delivery speed arena the whole green thing (lot less dead trees shipped by airplane in my Kindle copy of Facebook Marketing All-In-One For Dummies) In the digital realm, they sell books, video, apps, and music through a Web interface. The Kindle Fire delivers all of these perfectly.

As I shared in my initial thoughts about the Kindle Fire, my kids originally approached the concept with great interest. For them devices are for consumption and the laptop for creation. Both of them love the thing because “it does everything” – and they’re right, in the consumption realm at least.

Secondly, it’s solid. It “feels” great while not attempting to hope people won’t notice it’s not an iPad. I’ll be reading more books on this than anything else and can see dropping it in my go bag as I go on trips.

Finally, it’s a Generation 1 product. I can already list improvements (man, the Android world needs their version of AirPlay) that will probably be made in the future, but they’re, simply, improvements. Amazon got it right, on their first attempt. Great job.

Is it an “iPad Killer?” Nope. They’re not the same device. For people who bought the iPad only to play Angry Birds, read a few books and watch a few videos – this is the device for them.

If Apple plays to their strengths, they’ll continue to focus on the iPad as the tablet that it is. At $499 they better make sure it also enables media consumption (same is true of their desk/laptops), but that shouldn’t be the focus.

If Amazon plays to their strengths, they’ll continue to focus on the Kindle Fire as the media consumption device that it is. Try to make it something other than that and a) they’ll lose their profit center and b) they’ll lose their focus.

I’m thrilled with it. You?

For fun, here’s a quick embed of my Amazon Kindle Fire Unboxing. If you can’t see it below, the link will take you right to the YouTube video.

Why Is There No Kindle Version Of The Business Podcasting Bible?

A few more observant readers have asked a great question – why is there no Kindle version of the Business Podcasting Bible?

Want the truth?

To really look at the truth, we need to look at a couple of other books in Amazon with my name on them. There is Special Edition Using Microsoft FrontPage 2003 and there is also Special Edition Using Microsoft FrontPage 2002. Let’s not forget The Business Podcasting Handbook: Turning Podcasts Into a Force-Multiplier for Your Business.

FrontPage 2003 is for a product that Microsoft killed after that release. A Kindle version would be downright silly. FrontPage 2002 doesn’t have my name on it at Amazon, but funny enough, all of the published ones out there do. Same is true for a Kindle release of this one. No use in chasing a dead topic.

Funny enough, the “other” Podcast book NEVER EXISTED and Larstan Publishing still hasn’t taken down the listing. I think the reason for lack of a Kindle version for that one should be pretty obvious. Yes, Amazon has lots of listings of products that never existed.

Confused?

You should be.

FrontPage 2003 is a great book about a product that is simply in the past. I’m proud of the book but not waiting for anymore royalties. Same is true for the 2002 book (regardless of who’s name Amazon has on the front cover). There are still a box or two of them in my basement and I’ll probably send them to be recycled soon.

The Business Podcasting Bible is also a great book but it is, in short, about Podcasting 1.0.

We’ve come a long way since then. It stands alone great for her moment in time, but things have changed pretty dramatically since I wrote that thing.

Things have gotten much better, much bigger, much more exciting.

Put the book on Kindle? I’m not going to do anything to let anyone thing the world of 2006 era Podcasting is worth examining – in Kindle form or otherwise.

There is actually one book on Podcasting at Amazon that not only costs more than mine, but MAKES NO MENTION OF ITUNES – it was written that long ago. No Kindle version for that one either.

What about the money that could come with a second, updated, printing?

Oh, the stories I could tell … but I will give you a clue – that ain’t where the money is.

Fun fact: Did you know that Amazon Kindle numbers don’t make it into top seller and book chart lists? They consider the information proprietary.

Yup, that’s how few they sell in the grand scheme of things.

What about that book with my name on it that doesn’t exist, or that book that does have my name on it, but doesn’t show it that way in Amazon? Yes, the book publishing industry is that messed up.

I’m just not that worried about Amazon anymore.

I own my media future.

I suggest you do the same.

Amazon may have a part in it but … she will then become a tool that I use and not vice versa.

We give everyone who buys Podcast Secrets a copy of the Business Podcasting Bible in PDF format as part of the package. I still stand behind everything the book says – but there is just so much more to the story that I’m tired of waiting for Amazon, or any other publically traded company, to tell it correctly.

I’m entering into a new space with Podcast Secrets 3.0 and I recommend you come along for the ride.

It won’t be on Kindle.

You won’t be able to grab it at Amazon.

And when I’m done with the program, you’ll understand why.

And you’ll laugh at Amazon too.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kindle. And my Kindle app on the iPad. I love reading books without having to kill a tree. You’ll see content from me on the Kindle soon eough.

But, sometimes, the topic is bigger than a book.

And then it doesn’t make sense in book form – dead tree edition, or Kindle, or anything else.

How big is your topic?

The Problem With iBooks – The Platform Is Very Limited

The last 10 or so books I’ve read have all been on my Kindle. Not only are we a 2-Kindle family but I can show you that I’ve actually saved money on these devices. Every time I pick up a business book that retails at least fifteen bucks more for the dead tree edition, I realize this isn’t just a convenience issue, it’s a monetary one. And, yes, I make use of the iPhone app as well – but it is hardly the experience I want or need. And, friends, don’t knock e-ink until you’ve read a few books on it.

Side note: on my desk are a few books that only come in print and I can’t, for the moment, pull myself to even crack open.

So, Apple comes out with the iPad and the very cool looking iBooks option. We hear stories of magazines jumping on board quickly and we have something very interesting here. Embedded below is a YouTube Playlist:

At the point I wrote this, the best facts I could find about the iBooks included 1 simple fact that needs to be examined. Again, at the time of writing (3/1/2010), here’s what we know: iBooks only works on the iPad. Kindle products work on the iPad, the iPhone, PCs (Macs coming soon), and Blackberries. In short, my options are to read my stuff on every screen I own, or only one of the screens I own. I can also publish TODAY to the Kindle Network – but that’s another post all together. Obviously there are no details on that, but I don’t see it coming any time soon.

Now if I buy music through iTunes, I can play it on anything (including that Zune). If I buy a television show or movie, I can play it on any of my registered devices in the house (including my iPad).

So, yes, this is a revision 1 release – actually a pre revision 1 release but, right now, iBooks do nothing for me.

So, I ask this question, is the concept of iBooks doing anything for you? Is this something independent content developers should be considering? I guess I don’t get what they’re bringing to the table yet that, simply, isn’t provided much better on the Kindle.

Apple’s “Latest Creation” Event (the iPad) – My New Media Perspective

Thanks to Leo Laporte’s Phone, and Gdgt’s live photostream, we got an almost live look at the launch of the (surprised?) iPad. Other great pieces include Wired telling us it’s more about content, Cali Live, and TechCrunch’s live stream.

My thoughts:

The iPad name. Branding is a tough thing, but if anyone can pull it off, Apple can. Lots of folk can have slates or tablets. Only one company can have an iPad. Now they can (and will) charge more.

Mentioning YouTube but not Hulu, etc. I predict here that as this effectively has the ability to kill the purchase of content for the television, … I predict Hulu will try to ban (or severely restrict) the playing of Hulu content on the device. There will be hacks, don’t get me wrong, but, .. yeah, Hulu ain’t gonna like this at all.

Regular mentioning of Podcasts on this bad boy. Nice, but I believe this is more of a positioning statement than anything else. It might be me, but it sounds like Steve is telling some “big media” types that we can do fine without them. And, actually, I agree.

No Flash? That’s what Engadget is telling us. Answers the Boxee/Hulu question – and forces us to download content for the iPad. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

The iPad Econony.” Steve started the event with thoughts on how Apple is the “biggest” mobile device company on the planet. There is an iPhone economy (and nothing even comes close). I think they’re going for the same thing here. Hubris or brilliance … we’ll see.

Ability to use existing iPhone apps. Obvious, but extremely powerful. There are a couple of iPhone apps that I would use a lot more if I had more space (OmniFocus, Mail, Calendar, InstataPaper, Evernote, etc.) iPhone changed the way we used phones. Mix that power, already built in, with Steve’s comment that netbooks are lousy and we have an interesting new space.

Microphone jack. New media creation device.

The MLB.tv Demo. Yes, MLB has been leading the pack on this one, but those who own there media can all learn from this model of making sure their media is available on every device. An app for your show for the iPad is a LOT MORE (impressive and important) THAN AN RSS FEED.

iPad v Kindle (iBooks). Part of Kindle’s charm for me is the epaper bit (and the eyestrain that it doesn’t cause). I like where Apple is going, but I’m not sure how buying an iBook, only available on my iPad, is better than buying a Kindle book, which I can read on the Kindle, iPhone and iPad. Pricing will be a big issue here. Of course, you can buy MP3s on Amazon that work great on the iPhone – and we know where their positioning is.

iWork for iPad. Don’t underestimate brilliance of this one. If we can get an Office Suite with battery life for less than an Office Suite with laptops (with less battery life), we have a winner in the Enterprise? Remember, the promise is 10 HOURS of batter power. And at $9.99 each, yes, they’re making an Enterprise play …

$30 for unlimited 3G. No contract. But … AT&T. No commitment. But … AT&T. Remember too, this is a GSM chip so you won’t able able to move this over to Verizon without buying a new iPad. Hmmmmmm.

Price. Starting at $499 for 16 gig. $129 more for the 3G options. Most expensive 64gig and 3G – $829.

No camera. Nothing about USB. Not everything you need … but very nice.

125,000 million accounts and credit card numbers. This is a major audience ready to buy your stuff. Will you make it available to them?

Summary: So, she’s gorgeous and (relatively) cheap and a game changer. She doesn’t have the stuff we need to entirely bring her into the world we know (Flash, Camera, etc.). She is also very obviously a v1 product but color me impressed. The enterprise play and the cheaper access option (and the Apple halo effect) mean that it’s going to get a lot of play, quickly. She won’t be the streaming cable cutter like some buzz, but very impressive none the less.

We have what it takes to establish a 3rd category of products … We think we’ve done it.” (Steve Jobs)

Did they?