Tuesday, January 3, 2012

All This Talk of the Kindle Fire

Someone we know, whose name rhymes with Shmosie, just got herself a Kindle Fire for Decemberween. I spent a little time with it whilst setting it up so I'm a little bit familiar with it and what it does.

Before too much more time goes by you should know that I was like the seventh person to ever have a Kindle.  Tootsie gifted me a Kindle a-way back when, when it had enough memory for like 18 books and started with an engine crank on the side (and paid $400 for the privilege):

Awww, look at that stupid interface
What did I think of it?  Why, I thought it was the most awesome thing in all of awesome-land.  I really did.  Yes, of course the thing had its drawbacks: the position of holding it most comfortably put one's fingers right on the next page "button," for example. It had no real greyscale - the pixels were on, or off, or 50%, making images almost worthless. And its unfortunate lack of memory was an obvious ploy to add value to the next generation of devices.  But for all that I was just astounded:  Here wasn't a book, but dozens or hundreds of books, with a slick and convenient way of getting whichever book you wanted within 10 seconds of your initial urge to read.

For a fella like me, a technology wonk who loved to read and didn't do it enough, the Kindle was chock full of cool.

Well, after about four years of loyal service, my Kindle died.  Technically speaking, the screen lost its ability to un-paint a pixel; so turning a page basically layered one page on top of the other, and it eventually turned black and I was forced to say a few words over it and commit my Kindle (I named it Kindy) to Mother Earth, from whence it originally came.

I was resolved to buy another Kindle - and name it Kindy II - and was in the process of figgering out which one to get.  You could get one as cheaply as $80, if you wanted a unit with no keyboard and to see commercials instead of screen savers.  But the model I had settled on was $139, which was still a bargain, to my old eyes, especially given that my first one set me back four bills.

But then I saw that Kindle Fire, and I was captivated. For real.  This thing is so much more than a standard Kindle it's ridiculous.  So I thought I'd at least do some research and determine how much the Fire costs, and maybe see where it was, price- and feature-wise, up against similar devices like the iPad.  And that's when I was even more astounded.

iPad: $500 to start.

Kindle fire: $200, all bells and whistles inclusive.


Now look:  I might not recommend the Fire if you're looking for a full-featured tablet.  But the person who shells out $140 for a standard Kindle instead of the Fire is, there is no other way to put it, a god-damned fool.

It's got its issues, to be sure: its keyboard, so to speak, is a hassle and a half; writing this post on it would be an excruciating experience. A reviewer on Amazon said it best: it's a tool for consumption, not creation. Also the 6GB of memory shrinks up a bit considering it's also a video player. But as long as you keep that in mind, what you get for your money makes the Kindle Fire an absolute STEAL.  It's 90% of the functionality of the iPad or a good Android-based tablet at 40% of the cost.

And, thanks to Auntie Jo, I'm buying one this very day. When I get it, I'll dick around with it for a few days and produce a proper review. Watch this space.


  1. Meowwwww....

    Actually, was it not I who introduced YOU to the world of Kindle? Remember:
    "Just got this great book."
    "Can I borrow it?"
    "No, it's a Kindle book."
    "Oh. Well, you're still breathtakingly handsome."
    "Aww, thanks Jo. You're not so bad yourself."
    "Oh, Gary...oh, Gary...oh, Gary!"
    "That's right...yeah, right there...that feels good..."
    (The rest of this story is censored)


    You sure do live in your own little world.

    btw I KNEW you were going to reply with a Meow!

  3. I just got a Kindle Fire end of last week. The first thing I must say is that the documentation for it stinks. Every great thing I discovered about it I either came across by accident or read online looking for something else about it.

    So far I love it but I am still in discovery mode, I'm sure I'll like it even more when I totally figure it out. Maybe your upcoming review will help, looking forward to it!