September 28, 2011

The new color Kindle.

The Kindle Fire.

Is it better than an iPad? It's clearly cheaper. It's also lighter (413 grams as compared to 601 grams). A big issue is the clarity of the screen. The iPad is excellent. The Kindle Fire isn't out yet, so we'll see. You can use your Amazon Prime membership to stream a lot of movies and TV, so that's pretty cool.

ADDED: Coketown says:
I believe both the iPad and Kindle Fire use IPS panels so color, viewing angles, and contrast should be similar. Kindle's resolution is 1024x600 on a 7" screen while iPad's is 1024x768 on a 9.7" screen, so it seems the Kindle has higher pixel density which usually results in sharper images. But rumor has it that Apple will be using retina displays in the iPad 3.

Weight and size make me favor the Kindle Fire. As a media device, the iPad is too big. I prefer a smaller form factor.
I use my iPad for reading in a chair or in bed. I have a desktop and a laptop which I prefer for the many long hours I put in every day reading and writing. But I switch to the iPad when I need to get comfortable and rest my head. So the size and weight matter very much. I can't really picture getting a Kindle Fire when I already have an iPad, but if I needed a device in this niche, I'd probably go for this new, cheaper device. By the way, I use the Kindle app in my iPad (and on my other computers), and I'm very happy with the format.

ADDED: The NYT report:
... Amazon has an ace up its sleeve that other tablet makers do not, in that the Kindle Fire will offer Amazon’s full spread of digital content, said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Gartner who follows the consumer electronics industry.

“Amazon has already nailed the hardest part of the equation: the content,” he said.


Fred4Pres said...

Ann, Do you get a kick back on Kindle sales through your site?

Carol_Herman said...

Wait until you see the pants pockets you'll need to shove this into!

I'd suggest, too, they add a coiled rope ... so people ... if they want to ... can hang this off their jeans belt loops.

Plus, if it works like a cell phone ... how would you know someone was talking to a caller ... Or just trying to bop themselves on the head with a very thin book?

Remember when Blackberrys were hot> Remember the size of their keyboard? No wonder "texting" became so difficult ... words got "streamlined." And, symbols took over for letters of the alphabet.

Now? You can get a "scroll thumb" just to see if you can go out on disability.

Peter said...

Let me guess: at the top of every menu is, "Go to the Amazon Store"?

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Joe Schmoe said...

Those fuckers. Can I trade in my old B&W Kindle for the new one?

After I got a Kindle last year, I feedbacked Amazon that while I liked my new Kindle, I really wanted something with a full-color screen as I've been spoiled by the web.

lemondog said...

Glad you posted on the Kindle.

Wi-fi question: for Internet access all I need is a router to connect to my provider?

coketown said...

I believe both the iPad and Kindle Fire use IPS panels so color, viewing angles, and contrast should be similar. Kindle's resolution is 1024x600 on a 7" screen while iPad's is 1024x768 on a 9.7" screen, so it seems the Kindle has higher pixel density which usually results in sharper images. But rumor has it that Apple will be using retina displays in the iPad 3.

Weight and size make me favor the Kindle Fire. As a media device, the iPad is too big. I prefer a smaller form factor.

ricpic said...

" books while downloading videos..."

That's one of the things the ad says you can do. I assume reading for comprehension is a fuddy duddy concept now.

edutcher said...

Yeah, but the new stuff won't be as good.

Everything's better in black and white.




Dustin said...

For media, it's better than an ipad. Check its compatibilities. For web browsing, I bet it's about as good.

It supports Adobe Flash.

And since it's cheap, you can replace it when it's obsolete much more easily than an iPad. Even wealthy people don't like to replace expensive Apple products (if they did, they often wouldn't be wealthy for very long).

Yeah, this is already way better than an iPad in my book. Since I absolutely refuse to use that awful bloated itunes nonsense.

Amazon's clouddrive is about a zillion times better.

This is probably enough for me to finally ditch Netflix and go Prime.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, Do you get a kick back on Kindle sales through your site?"

Yes. All my links to Amazon, as I've said many times and refrained from boring you with on this one, work to send some money to me without raising the price to you. It's a great way to show appreciation for my work on this blog, and I thank you for it immensely if you think of me when you need to buy something.

ndspinelli said...

It's cheaper per gram than crack or crystal meth!

Nonapod said...

I'm about 90% certain I'll be picking one of these up. I have an ancient first gen Kindle that I've been meaning to replace for awhile now. Plus I have this irrational hatred of all things Apple so there's another reason to buy one (even though it's not exactly a direct competitor to the iPad).

Buying things out of spite isn't crazy... is it?

Scott M said...

I'm a big Amazon/Kindle fan, but the size of the screen would be a problem for me. Are they going to make one as big as the iPad2?

Zach said...

I hope they don't lose their focus on ereaders now that they have a tablet. The regular Kindle is a fabulous example of doing one thing as well as it can be done. I was hoping to get some specs about the quality of the eink screen on the new black and white Kindle, but so far they just say "the most modern version."

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Sorry, Professor, but Instapundit got to me first, and I already ordered through his link. The price was irresistible.

I'll be happy to answer any questions about the Fire in mid-November!

Tim Wright said...

It looks like an interesting device, but I don't think I'm going to replace my present kindle with it. My present kindle only has wifi, and I find myself really wanting the 3G. The new kindle fire does not have 3G available, so there's no point to me. If it had 3G, then I'd do it.

KLDAVIS said...

I'll be waiting for Gen2, which will likely offer a 10" size as well as 3G. Though, how they're going to get a cell provide to offer the type of data plan the other kindles have on a device that streams video, I have no idea. Paging Google, that blanket of WiFi we've been promised for years would really come in handy right about now... I can see Amazon offering the 3G Fire with a required special version of Prime that gives you free shipping, unlimited streaming and a data plan for your Fire. It'd almost have to be more than the current $79/yr, but I don't know. Everyone was saying they couldn't launch at $199, too.

Fred4Pres said...

I will think of you Ann when I click to buy through Amazon. It is a cheap way to give you some blog love $$$.

KLDAVIS said...

What if Google did open up a massive WiFi network to Fire users, in exchange for Amazon utilizing the new Silk browser's cloud-based "predictive rendering" that "remov[es] superfluous information" from web pages as they load to strip the ads off of websites and replace with AdWords ads?

Cheryl said...

I have a Kindle (the big one) and an iPad. I prefer reading on the Kindle for two reasons: first, the Kindle is much lighter; second, the back-lit iPad just doesn't suit me for long-term reading. The e-ink or whatever it is in the Kindle is just much easier on the eyes, truly like reading a paper page.

Wow at the price, though. Two of my kids have Kindles. At this price it is a great alternative to an iPad. And I would be okay with buying it--cheaper than an iPod!

PatCA said...

This sure blows the Blackberry Playbook (7 inch, $499) out of the water.

I've been waiting for a bigger tablet with 3G so I can surf the web without viruses. Supposedly Amazon is going to offer one in early 2012. If it's not cheap enough I will just get a netbook or that little round Apple thing that outputs to any monitor.

The days of one machine that does it all are pretty much over, but $500 for a tablet? No.

themightypuck said...

Nice price. This thing should destroy Christmas. I wonder how many they will be able to make?

Dustin said...

"All my links to Amazon, as I've said many times and refrained from boring you with on this one, work to send some money to me without raising the price to you."

I think that is cool.

Everyone wins.

I also want to note that this will make the iPad better. There is competition to the IPad, such as Samsung's, but for the most part, companies were trying to make something just like the iPad. Amazon is taking things in a different direction, and I think their competition will be more robust.

If the Kindle featured removable storage (an SD Card) I would be on board. That's important to me. I do not accept the Clouddrive as an adequate alternative to an SD slot.

Wince said...

My decision criteria:

After the financial collapse, which device can I hollow out and build a fire inside so I can stare at it, like the little girl hiding with the human underground in the first "Terminator" movie.

Obviously, the aptly name Kindle Fire!

wv - "womicat" - meeeooow!

Joe Schmoe said...

Amazon's going after some of the iPad market, for sure, but it's also in a streetfight with Barnes & Noble's full color Nook. The Nook is $249 so Amazon wins on both price and streaming video.

Misinforminimalism said...

Big (apparent) drawback: no camera. Which means no Skype. I say apparent because I haven't seen anyone actually pointing that out; that's just based on my review of the specs at Amazon, and there's no mention of a camera, front-facing or otherwise.

bagoh20 said...

I've passed on the Ipad because of the price and the size. This kindle fire is right in the sweet spot. I'm ordering today.

As I posted in the new cafe:

"So I'm buying me a Kindle Fire, and some other stuff. I clicked through the link on Althouse, but how do I know it worked? I haven't checked out yet."

Brian O'Connell said...

I think if you use the iPad mainly for media consumption- books & movies- the Fire will do just fine, and the price point obviously makes it much more attractive.

The iPad has some apps, like the drawing ones, or a lot of the productivity apps, that the Fire probly won't be able to compete with. I'm thinking that a lot of people don't use those and won't care.

I have both the Kindle 3 and an iPad. I find that I prefer the iPad generally, for the color and browsing. But it's a bit too big and heavy. You can't really single-hand it for very long, like you can with the Kindle or a paper-back. So a bit smaller and lighter could work well.

Brian O'Connell said...

Unknown: No camera or mic on the Fire. It's mainly for media consumption, and a little emailing and tweeting. Speaking of which, haven't heard about or seen the keyboard. It would be great if it had Swype, which is an Android thing.

kjbe said...

I've got a 3G iPad, so I'm not too interested in the Fire, but I am interested in the two new readers. Might be a dual splurge for Christmas, but would like to hear more on the battery life.

BJM said...

@Joe Schmoe

There are several online outfits that buy used electronics, or donate it and take a deduction.

I pre-ordered a Fire this morning too, sorry but Insta is my start page and he got to me first.

Roux said...

Is reading E-Books the only thing you can do with it?

KLDAVIS said...


Battery Life from the Comparison chart on Amazon:

1 month: New Kindle
2 months: New Kindle Touch & New Kindle Touch 3G (also classic Kindle Keyboard & Kindle Keyboard 3G)
3 weeks : Kindle DX

By comparison, the Fire is listed at 8 hours continuous reading or 7.5 hours video playback.

Lance said...

“Amazon has already nailed the hardest part of the equation: the content,” he said.

I'm so sick of this attitude, that somehow streaming crappy movies and television shows is the "hardest part" of making and selling a device. What nonsense.

Dustin said...

"I'm so sick of this attitude, that somehow streaming crappy movies and television shows is the "hardest part" of making and selling a device. What nonsense."

I don't get it. Amazon is one of the leading retailers of ebooks and music. They have just about all the music and literature you could want.

And I they have an enormous selection of music and TV. Their 'free to Amazon Prime' selection is limited, but they have much more than that available. You can't say they only offer crappy movies and TV.

For someone like me, though, even the limited Netflix selection level is fine. I don't even know that I'm not getting the latest shows. I am totally out of the loop and couldn't care less.

It's just a fact that Amazon has a leg up on the content front. It is simply true.

What's the alternative? An Archos and The Pirate Bay?

Dustin said...

""So I'm buying me a Kindle Fire, and some other stuff. I clicked through the link on Althouse, but how do I know it worked? I haven't checked out yet.""

Then it worked.

Althouse will get a list of the items people have bought via her affiliate links, but won't know who bought what. This helps her know what products led to the most sales, I suppose, and also gives her insight into her audience.

People have tested this affiliates thing. So long as your session at Amazon began with the link, Amazon credits properly. The amount paid can vary depending on the type of link. Links to specific products usually pay more than links via the search link. And different items pay different percentages.

Some make thousands per month doing this. I suspect Althouse makes at least hundreds, and would love to learn more about it. I think it's a really cool program for reader and blogger alike.

deborah said...

There's nothing to stop me from getting a Kindle (which I would select because of the faux-print/not backlit feature, 3G, and battery life), but I can't get past the emotional thing of preferring a physical book. And I don't want to get addicted to the larger font I could select. I've read some things on the Kindle app on my laptop. Just doesn't feel right...but I guess you get used to it?

coketown said...

@deborah: The problem I've had with my e-reader is this: The screen is 6" diagonally, and pages are rendered with .25" margins on the sides and .5" on the top and bottom. Effectively, your reading area is the size of a 3"x5" index card! I have to set the font to small, otherwise I'm turning the page constantly. Enlarging the font significantly decreases the number of words per page, and constantly turning the pages is incredibly irritating.

There is, though, the Kindle DX with, I think, a 9.5" screen, so maybe large fonts on that device is more pleasant?

KLDAVIS said...

I fought the Kindle, refusing to use my wife's except when we were on vacation. However, I recently read Game of Thrones and the two subsequent books in the series on the Kindle App for my Android phone (because my wife already owned them in that format, and I didn't know if I'd like them enough to make a separate purchase). Now I'm reading the latest Neal Stephenson book Reamde (which I pre-ordered in hardcover before using the Kindle app for the GRRM books), and as much as I love physical books, I'm really wishing that I'd bought the Kindle version instead. There's just no comparison between lugging around and propping up several pounds dedicated to one purpose vs. a couple of ounces that I always have with me all the time anyway...I'm not totally sold on ebooks, but I can feel the conversion starting to take hold.

deborah said...

Good to know, Coketown...makes my decision even easier :)

deborah said...

Good point, KL, and I can know also that thick paperpacks can be difficult to keep held open because of the tight binding.

Glenn Howes said...

The Fire doesn't have a camera or for that matter any hardware not directly involved in the consumption of cloud based content, so no Bluetooth, gyroscope, microphone, 3G radio, SD cards... and minimal storage capacity. That's how they could get the build cost down.

As for using an iPad for reading, I have a very cool iPad case with a large beanbag bottom which allows me to prop the iPad up on my chest or on the bed for when I don't want to hold it for the length of a book or a movie.

My issue with the iPad for reading is the screen resolution. I will be very happy if the iPad 3 has a near Retina display dots per inch.

I'm concerned about the Fire's aspect ratio. Apple chose the 4:3 aspect ratio as it works OK in landscape for video while allow the user to more easily browse the web in portrait mode. The Fire has a 16:9 aspect ratio which is optimized for video in landscape, but I have a hard time saying it's optimal for books or web browsing in either orientation.

Cheryl said...

@coketown: I have a DX or whatever that bigger one is called. (It was a gift from my husband and not something I had put on a "wish" list.) Two of my kids have the regular. I love my bigger one and can't imagine reading on the smaller one.

And to deborah--I don't think I picked up my Kindle twice in the first three months I had it. But I got hooked on it when I was traveling a little bit. It is also great for downloading a newspaper when I don't have internet access. I was very surprised at how quickly I got used to it.

gadfly said...

So the word is out that Barnes and Noble stock took a hit today. Amazon is obviously not opposed to getting a little Nookie now and then.

deborah said...

Thx, Cheryl, good to know.

gbarto said...

Sounds like a Nook competitor to me too. Hopefully, this will force Barnes and Noble to loosen up and make it easier to get Android apps. For what it's worth, I love my Nook, and one thing I love is the micro-SD card slot so that I can load up with PDFs and music, as well as Barnes and Noble books.

Garrick Williams said...

This is NOT a Kindle replacement, in the sense that it is not an optimal e-reader. It's backlit and doesn't use e-ink, so the battery life will be relatively short (8 hours vs. 1 month on the original Kindle) and it will be harder on the eyes.

It's also NOT an iPad replacement - it seems to lack the camera, GPS, Bluetooth, etc. features of the iPad, and the apps will likely be more limited (note that, while Android based, the Fire is using a proprietary Amazon interface and app store).

That said, if you have an iPad that you primarily use for media consumption or light web browsing, OR if you have a Kindle that you wish had color and don't mind sacrificing battery life, this thing seems perfect. It's also probably a superior choice to the iPad as a 'tweener device for someone who already owns a laptop and/or smartphone.

It should utterly destroy the Color Nook and Blackberry Playbook, and will take a small but meaningful bite out of iPad sales. The Fire and iPad will likely dominate the tablet market for at least a couple years. The only possible challenger is a Windows based device, but fat chance of that.

Craig Howard said...

(413 grams as compared to 601 grams)

Ah! One of my pet journalistic peeves: citing metric measurements to an American audience.

Yes, your readers are intelligent. We can easily infer that one is approximately 2/3 the weight of the other. And, yes, your readers probably can (either by calculator or through college-learned formulae) make the necessary conversions.

But, dammit, be considerate and put the weight into Imperial system of measures. That's what we understand.

Quixotic said...

Buy and hold Netlix (if can afford it.) Amazon will buy Neflix, and you will get happy.

And you will thank Quixotic.

blogless said...

I love my Kindle 3 and I thought I would be the last person saying that because I own thousands of books and never thought I would like an e-Reader. I have an iPad which I also love, too but not for reading because of the backlight and because it's heavy.

I'm going to wait on the new gadgets until Amazon makes them 3G, which I understand is soon. I am also hoping that they figure out a way to make e-Ink in color. That would be so fine.

Lauderdale Vet said...

I pre-ordered one earlier today by first clicking on your amazon link. Here's hoping you get the credit.

Joe Schmoe said...

Thanks for the tip BJM. I'll look into that.

Republican said...

Love my iPAD 3G, have downloaded many books, now reading every day, after not buying and reading many books for years.

Erik Robert Nelson said...

Yawn. It's just a slightly cheaper version of the Nook Color.

Lauderdale Vet said...

The Nook Color doesn't stream video from the no-monthly-recurring-charges-whispernet, or have access to a cloud drive for storage (that you can use as a swap drive from your PC or MAC), or the the amazon android market to continually extend the product. It's a dumb device to be sure (not trying to be an iPad) but it's the first, best example so far of a generic SaaS, IaaS platform to deliver content for profit.

Was watching a Deep Space Nine episode with my kid last night (on Amazon Prime free streaming video over the Internet TV) and was amused by all the PADD devices the characters used in their daily lives.

...then I watch my wife hunting for recipes on the XOOM in the kitchen, and I realize that the future is already here.

Methadras said...

If it's an ips panel, it should be very nice.

Alex said...

Already pre-ordered mine with leather case and 2-year warranty. I want to give as much business to Apple competitors as possible! It does help that I already have Amazon Prime membership.

I hate Apple.

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