Besides the features I already described, the Fire also has main menu items for Music and Docs. Neither feature deserves much discussion.
Music hooks into Amazon’s awesome, exhaustively well-stocked library of audio tracks and albums. You can buy music right on the Fire, and access it anywhere you like, care of Amazon’s cloud storage. But is a 7-inch tablet a convenient portable music player? No, our smartphones and iPods own this function. Case closed.
As for Docs, it’s a simple container for image, text, and PDF files that you’ve uploaded to the documents section of your Kindle Library. Huzzah. More than anything, it seems like the user interface designers at Amazon wanted to fill a hole in the Fire’s main menu, so they added Docs as a placeholder.
At the end of the day, the Fire must be judged by how well it executes in terms of its Newsstand, Books, Video, Apps and Web features. It does nothing very well, save video playback, running various Android apps, and making the business of Amazon shopping alarmingly fun and easy.
If you already have $200 in your high-tech hardware slush fund, and you’re not willing to splurge one cent more, I suggest you wait longer before pulling the trigger on a tablet. Let that nest egg build. Let it grow interest. Wait for the Kindle Fire 2.
Or — yes, I’m going to go there — consider an iPad.
By the time iPad 3 comes out, Apple’s cheapest iPad 2 will almost certainly be even cheaper. And this could very well be the tablet for you: 9.7 inches of uncompromised screen real estate, a processor that rips through web pages like a chainsaw, and an app and digital content ecosystem that’s already commensurate to (if not better than; let’s be serious) anything Amazon offers.
iPad killer? No, the Kindle Fire is not. And it doesn’t even match the iPad in web browsing, the one area in which its hardware should have sufficient performance to compete. But the press has definitely supercharged Amazon’s product launch with a level of hype and enthusiasm that would make Apple proud.
Photos by Jon Snyder/get-gadget. Creative Commons licensed under BY-NC.
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