[E-GEAR]: Review: Amazon Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire, as I'm not the first to point out, has nearly the exact same size, weight and form factor as that most maligned of tablet devices, the BlackBerry PlayBook. However, software-wise the Kindle Fire is superior in just about every way- its interface is much easier to use than the PlayBook's counterintuitive setup, while it has access to much better apps than the BlackBerry's bare-bones application store.
The software is a modified version of Android for tablets, designed to more closely resemble Amazon's established look. The web browser is a brand new cloud-based concept called the Amazon Silk, which I found functional but not especially impressive. I also got error messages when I tried to access several popular websites.
The integration with Amazon, though, is probably the Fire's most impressive feature. I'm far from a Kindle veteran, but I was able to log on easily- finding three books I downloaded years ago right there for my perusal- and download a new book with not any difficulty.
Another change is the shift from the Kindle's traditional e-ink display to a touchscreen interface, which also applies to Amazon's pair of new Kindle Touch Ereader products (the newest regular Kindle retains the e-ink.)
The sun glare issue was previously such a selling point for the Kindle against the iPad that Amazon based heavy-rotation TV commercials on it, but Amazon has apparently accepted the trade-off, also making screen cover accessories available directly from Amazon and elsewhere. I suppose that's one advantage to releasing a product six months prior to the start of beach season.
So can the Kindle Fire compete with the iPad? It's not as large, powerful, or advanced as its Apple rival, especially since the latter has had a nearly three-year head start. To this day, after all, most people I know outside the electronics industry don't even know what a "tablet" is and believe the iPad IS the category.