So 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.