Amazon’s New Kindle Fire Tablets: Interesting, but Not for Me

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Usually when I follow liveblogs or read the coverage for a big tech product launch, some level of gadget lust takes over. I start to imagine myself using the product, and think about where it would fit into my existing lineup of gadgets.

But for Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablets, things were different. My mind switched to a sort of meta-analysis of whether the products would sell (and at a price range of $159 to $299, they probably will). I felt no familiar pang of desire, because these products are not for me.

(MORE: 21 Questions About Amazon’s New Kindle Devices)

The headliner in Amazon’s lineup is the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, which will cost $299 with 16 GB of storage, or $499 with 32 GB of storage and 4G LTE capabilities. It’s a direct assault on Apple’s iPad, in that it’s $200 cheaper but has a similar pixel density and decent processing power.

What it doesn’t have, though, is Apple’s huge selection of tablet-optimized apps. Like all other Android-based tablets, the larger Kindle Fire will rely mainly on blown-up smartphone apps–at least at first. Unless this changes, the Fire cannot provide a comparable experience to the iPad.

Amazon’s two new 7-inch tablets–the $159 Kindle Fire and the $199 Kindle Fire HD–don’t have any competition from Apple, at least not yet. But they still have to reckon with Google’s Nexus 7 tablet, which starts at $199 for the 8 GB model. The specs are fairly similar for all three devices, although the Fire HD has twice the storage as the Nexus 7 at the same price.

The issue here is that Amazon’s Appstore for Android is smaller than the Google Play Store, and some of the apps are missing. (Gizmodo has a list of notable examples.) Also, Google doesn’t offer any of its own apps on the Kindle Fire, so two of the best reasons to have a Nexus 7–namely, the Chrome browser and the excellent Gmail app–are absent from Amazon’s platform.

I already own both a Nexus 7 and an iPad, and I don’t see any good reason to switch. The Kindle Fire tablets’ main selling points are low prices and easy access to Amazon content, but Amazon is weaker on the content I care about most–the selection of available apps–and I’m willing to pay more for better options. The new Fire tablets don’t make any great advances on specs or hardware either, except for the fact that they’re inexpensive.

That’s not to say the new Kindle Fire tablets won’t be any good, or that they don’t fill a gap in the market. And maybe if Amazon sells enough of these things, the app situation will come along. Those are good enough reasons to pay attention to the new Kindle Fires, but not enough to make me want to buy one.

MORE: Yes, You’ll Absolutely, Positively Be Able to Remove the Special Offers from Amazon’s New Kindle Tablets

7 comments
DonkinKimel
DonkinKimel

I is interesting for me. Especially with dolphin browser and ArkMC applications.

You have to try them.

AhmadZainiChia
AhmadZainiChia

Hmm i don't think the writer has wrote a misleading article, it does say 'not for me'. And he gives reasosn as to why its not for him: because he cares more about variety and quality of apps, rather than media content like books/movies etc. Which to me is the kindle fire's greatest strength.

Thats all guys. Some people choose tablets mainly for media content consumption, some want to use the apps that come with it to do more stuff. The writer belongs to the latter and he's stating his views. That's it guys, chill.

Jonathan Ayers
Jonathan Ayers

Let's try this again since my previous comment was apparently not good enough to be approved.

The Kindle Fire HD is not targeted at someone like you who already owns an iPad and/or the Nexus 7. It is targeted at the people who do not already own a tablet but are considering one. These people may consider the prices of the other premium tablets to be too high and are unsure about the Nexus 7 because they think it's too small. You have to admit that for the specs that we currently know about the Fire HD, it is a great deal for the price. $299 for the 8.9" model is a great deal and I for one will be spending the extra $70 to get the 32GB model. The other two similar android tablets both retail for over $400 and aren't as connected to the Amazon infrastructure. Honestly the only thing that would prevent me from getting the Fire HD 8.9 would be if Google released a Nexus with a larger screen and 1920x1200 resolution. Then I would have trouble deciding between the two.

Plae
Plae

Your Headline is disingenuous and misleading.   It did, however,  get me to read your article all the way through. After doing so my take-away conclusion was you were not someone who had an opinion that I would consider valuable in making any technology purchase.  

Perry Bradford Wilson
Perry Bradford Wilson

So, basically your entire argument against the Kindles is a lack of apps.  But considering these are great hardware at great prices, they will still sell very well.  And as the installed base of Kindle Fires increases, more and more developers will write apps for the Fire line.  If you build it, they will come.

Jonathan Ayers
Jonathan Ayers

I would say that the Kindle Fire HD, both the 7" and the 8.9" are not marketed toward you in the first place.  With their aggressive pricing, Amazon is trying to tempt the people who do not own a tablet yet because they've been scared off by the high price points of the iPads and the premium android tablets like the Transformer Infinity and the Iconia A700. Honestly, I tend to access my Gmail from my phone more often than anywhere else so not having the app on the Fire wouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker for me. Hopefully Amazon will address the issue of the Google apps not being available in their appstore. If someone is like me and uses the services that Amazon already provides and is in the market for 1920x1200 resolution tablet that is to be used primarily for consumption, then the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is much more tempting than the iPad, especially with its $299 entry level price point. Also, I know everyone keeps talking about how much cheaper it is than the iPad, but I'm more concerned with how much cheaper it is than the two closest Android competitors. I can get the Infinity for $488 and the A700 for $425 from Amazon and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 with 32GB of storage is $369. Unfortunately we don't know how the Fire HD compares in performance to the two tablets I mentioned, but I have hopes that it will do well. Even if it isn't great, the price tag will still entice a lot of buyers away from the other tablet choices on the market. 

2N1
2N1

If you already own a Nexus 7 and iPad, why would you possible even consider buying the Kindle AND waste your time writing a kind of negative comment about it.  I think the Kindle is a good value for someone who likes to read/play a few games/email!