Four years after Amazon introduced the original Kindle e-reader, it introduced the Kindle Fire. This release redefines the question of "what is the Amazon Kindle exactly?" Aside from e-books, the Kindle Fire also puts the web, music, and video into your hands. With high expectations, the question is whether the Kindle Fire can compete with the iPad 2, or whether this Fire is going to burn out.
When you open the box
When you open the Amazon Kindle box, you see three things inside. The Kindle Fire itself, the adapter (micro-USB format) and a note card that tells you "slide to unlock’. Upon first impression, the Kindle feels heavy, much heavier than the previous Kindle from Amazon. This is not a bad thing. While you do not want to carry around a brick all day, it does feel good that the Kindle has some substance to it. It is still lighter than the iPad 2. The back of the Kindle Fire has a sort of rubbery side to it. This means that it is not likely to fall out of your hands and drop to the floor (which was an initial concern for the iPhone 3G when it was first released for example). Overall, both the format and the weight make it easy to hold.
The screen of the Kindle Fire is quite refreshing. The resolution is much higher than we have come to expect from some of the other competitors on the market. The Fire has a resolution of 169 dpi, the iPad for example only has 132 dpi. This means that colors look bright and lively. This makes the viewing of video and e-books ideal. It is great to see that in its initial foray into using color for their tablet, Amazon made the right choices. It is easy to see that Amazon did not cut any corners on the screen for the Kindle by Amazon.
More than an e-reader
The Kindle Fire is more than just an e-reader obviously; the Kindle Fire is a complete multimedia device. No doubt that Amazon hopes to jump into the lucrative tablet market (or to put it more accurately, the content for tablets market) following Apple, Sony, BlackBerry en Samsung. While Apple tends to sell music and apps, Amazon's most profitable venture so far is the e-book. However, with the Fire they want to include apps, music, and video.
The biggest negative so far regarding the Kindle Fire is the fact that only users in the United States can access all of the multimedia features. While it is great that you can browse the web, the appeal of the Kindle Fire is the fact that it offers so much more. Something that cannot be enjoyed in South Africa or anywhere else in the world for that matter. While most experts agree that Amazon is going to eventually discuss licenses to ship multimedia the world over, there is no accurate estimate of when this is going to happen. Until that time, you are left with a great piece of hardware that does not allow you to use all of the features.
As an e-reader, the Kindle Fire is less than ideal. Unlike the traditional screen used in the other Kindles, this screen does not do as well when in direct sunlight. This means that you are likely to have a glare when you are outside. Even though it should come as no surprise that having all these additional features costs battery life, comparing the eight hours that you can use the Kindle Fire for once it is charged, does not compare to the weeklong battery life of previous editions.
Amazon has produced a tremendous piece of technological development with the Kindle Fire. For those people that want to use it as a Wi-Fi web browser and wait until Amazon opens its multimedia doors to the rest of the world, it is certainly a great alternative to the much more expensive Apple iPad 2 or the Samsung Galaxy tab. If you are solely looking for an e-reader, Amazon and Kindle have much better and cheaper alternatives available for you. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the iPad 2, it is a great start but unfortunately very limited at this time. Once Amazon unleashes its full arsenal, you will be able to enjoy this Kindle in South Africa and access all of its features.
Where to Buy
Amazon is the only official stockist on the Kindle, however you can buy a Kindle Fire in South Africa from reputable importers on BidorBuy.co.za