UPDATE: Check out my hands-on review!
Amazon just announced their newest entries into their Kindle-verse: The Kindle Touch and the Kindle Fire. I’ve been following the rumors over the new Kindle with great curiosity and expectation. I’ve been coming to the place where I can see a tablet computer in my daily routine. The thing is, I don’t think the iPad is the tablet I want – I think the Kindle Fire is. Let me explain why after the break.
The Back Story.
I used to own an iPad – I bought the original iPad (64gb WiFi+3g model). I sold it a few months later because it wasn’t as capable as I had assumed and wanted. Granted – I made assumptions – but the bottom line is that it did not meet my expectations as a device to fit in my lifestyle. I wanted a very portable device that allowed me – even if in a rudimentary fashion – to do some real work, via GoogleDocs. I tried so hard to make it work, but the iPad just wouldn’t cut it.
I bought a MacBook Pro 13″ with the sale proceeds which serves extremely well in this capacity. A MacBook Air would probably serve just as well, except that the MacBook Pro also has become my primary computer, so it needs to run AutoCAD, 3D Studio Max, and Photoshop with ease (I do use my wife’s Air for preaching). In this workflow, I have had no need for a tablet at all.
The Here and Now:
But now – over a year later, I can see a place for a tablet in my lifestyle – fully understanding their shortcomings – and this “place” is far different than my previous expectations. However, the real sticking point to me is price point. I am just not willing to spend $500 or more on a tablet for the way I want to use it. I had previously set $250 as the most I wanted to spend on a tablet. I know, it’s an aggressive price point for a quality product. I missed out on the HP $99 fire-sale, so my search was not satisfied. Robert Scoble G+’d about some unknown company’s cheapo tablet meeting that range – but I want a quality product – not some cheap sluggish paper-weight.
The Amazon Kindle – not quite “it.”
The Amazon Kindle is not a new product – been out for a long time – but it really is a one-trick pony. It’s an E-Reader. And, while I love the idea of digital ink – I am not looking for a book reader per se. I want a device that does more than just let me read books and magazines.
So, What Do I Want?
- A quality device by an innovative company that “gets it” when it comes to mobile devices.
- I want a solid company backing up their product. Most of the iPad’s real competitors have been PC companies who have not gotten past the commodity concept. They just don’t get it, and their devices don’t do well.
- I want a QUALITY product for less than $250. The rest of the iPad’s competitors want me to spend as much for their product as for an iPad. Sorry, but if I wanted to spend that much I’d just get an iPad. Too many superlatives are owned by Apple’s device.
- I want a device I can preach from, that I can watch the occasional video/movie on, that I can play the occasional game, and that I can read my email and view (not edit) my GoogleDocs.
- I also want it to be more portable than my MacBook Pro (which the iPad is barely so because of its dimensions).
How Does The Kindle Fire Measure Up?
- Amazon has had great success with their existing Kindles, and they’ve no doubt amassed quite a knowledge base on what people are doing with it, as well as what people are requesting of it. I have confidence they’ll deliver a great user experience with the Kindle Fire.
- It’s Amazon – duh. The remarks in item #1 apply here too.
- They announced the price point at $200 – better than my expectations. I am confident, because of their past Kindle success, that they’ll deliver a great user experience. It’s not an iPad, but per my comments to follow, “so what?”
- The Kindle Fire is an Android device, and it will have access to Amazon’s Android App Store. I think we’re good with “want #4.” For preaching, I think it will be perfect. The MacBook Air is overkill, and given the zoom I use for my notes as I am preaching, the Kindle Fire’s 7″ actually seems perfect.
- It has a 7″ screen (not like iPad’s 10″ screen). That means an overall smaller device than the iPad, which makes it way smaller than my MacBook Pro, but still WAY larger than my iPhone. I could potentially stick this thing in my back pocket (I’m a big guy so my pockets are pretty big – hehe) – I just have to remember not sit down while it’s there!
The Bottom Line.
I will be getting a Kindle Fire. I’ve been wanting to get into the Android eco-system anyway – mostly out of curiosity. Now, I finally see a device that fully meets my criteria for how I would use a tablet. Hopefully, I won’t be disappointed. Either way, I’ll let y’all know.