Lavi and I upgraded our Kindles recently. She had a first gen and I had the 2nd gen Kindles this past year. I would easily say that it was our most used gadget of 2011. I think that we used our iphones a bit more but I rule out the time as a phone and go to use. Amazon certainly made some money from us in comparison to Apple. After the hardware cost I would say that we spent very little in the Apple App Store but after purchasing less expensive Kindle device we purchased a lot of books.
The new Kindle Fire came out and we immediately upgraded. We both seem to be enjoying it a good deal. The reading experience is very good, navigation and things work as expected. The backlit reading of the Kindle Fire is different, but just that. Something to get use to.
Where the Kindle Fire also comes out ahead is in the size, resolution, and other things it can do. Where it seems to be lacking is that it is essentially a version 1 hardware/software device and Android OS.
1. Size: Here I compare it not to the older gen Kindles (same size approx) but to the iPad. Trying to read with the iPad is just a bit much. If I can put it on a table and flip around it is fine, but when I hold it for too long it becomes too heavy. The Kindle Fire fits my hands like a book does, and becomes familiar.
2. Resolution: Again a comparison to iPad, but also to the first gen Kindles. The color screen is a big upgrade in just about everything the Kindle did and now does. Browsing the web and reading other non-Kindle ebooks is much better. I find I want to do more with it. I read PDF documents, watch videos and browse the web with it.
3. Kindle Fire lets me do more: I mentioned web surfing and video already. You can download a multitude of apps for Android to do a lot more. Games and productivity apps are some that I've experimented with already.
4. v1 hardware/software app: Amazon has done a great job in nailing a lot of things, but it is still v1 for Kindle Fire. I see some navigation nuances and at times very touchy screen that leads to weird interaction. The video playback sucks the battery like a camel at a watering hole too. I'm hoping a lot of this can be updated in the software and not require new hardware. I think Amazon will be pretty sensitive to that.
5. Android OS: I have to admit that I don't like Android OS much. It seems less functional than iOS, which is probably false, but I blame things on the OS when I see certain limitations. At times the response time is slow and I don't know where to lay blame for that, but to me it's either the app layer or the OS layer. By default I blame the OS. That said, Amazon seems to have crafted a great experience on Android and it's not even close to a deal breaker for me.
Overall, we are using our Kindle Fire's a lot. I have plans for some trips this coming year and I'm already 90% sure I'm going to take my Kindle Fire instead of my iPad, but we'll just wait to see for sure.
2011 I think I read a lot, which was one of my resolutions. I finished the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons. I got into the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. I read the latest from Jim Butcher and only want more of the Dresden Files. I finished his Codex Alera series. I'm waiting on the third installment from Robin Hobb, who I enjoy but lately I feel she's phoned in her last two trilogies. I also got into a few series from Christopher Moore (bloodsucker series) that were funny good reads.
I've let Dad use my old Kindle. I have all the Jim Butcher "Dresden Files" books on it for him to read. I think he may actually really like it. I should post how he finds the experience.
Hope the Holiday fun is picking up for you and the family!
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