Amazon Kindle Fire=Fail

I am quite disappointed with the Kindle Fire I recently purchased. I have shopped for a tablet for about a year, but haven’t been impressed by what I saw on the market. The $200 price tag intrigued me, so I picked one up during the preorder period. The Kindle Fire is, at best, a starter tablet, and, at worst, more or less just a portal to Amazon’s infrastructure with some, and I mean *some*, apps allowed in. I will hold onto it, but I see myself upgrading to something else eventually. Here are some other observations:

  • Recently, I have looked for a new Twitter client to replace TweetDeck. After trying out Tweetcaster on the Fire, I have settled on Hootsuite as my client of choice not only on my Fire, but on my phone as well.
  • The biggest problem with the Fire is how annotations are stored. On earlier Kindles, there was a simple .txt file called “clippings” that stored any portions of a text that were highlighted or annotated. This was simple and JUST WORKED. Every so often, I could plug my Kindle into a laptop and export the clippings.txt file. On the Fire, there is no .txt file and annotations are kept on Amazon’s server. I DO NOT want my clippings in the cloud, especially a third-party who has been known to delete things in the past. I just want it to simply work and the Fire is very pretty, but makes this extremely more complex than it needs to be.
  • The best part was that Amazon’s customer service didn’t even know about the change. Wow.
  • An Android tablet that can’t open any open source documents like an .odt is a pretty terrible use for Android. I was going to use the Fire to edit and grade student work, but that doesn’t seem to be happening now.
  • No wall charger. Yeah, I know that most people charge via USB these days, but I would still like the ability to charge via a wall outlet from time to time. Having to pay extra for that is pretty ridiculous.
  • I ended up ordering a Kindle Touch as well for book reading. This Kindle works just like my earlier Kindle. The touch screen interface is fantastic. I am quickly getting used to touch screens in general.
  • I haven’t used the Touch in class much yet, but the other day I used it to follow along with a student led lecture. I will post more in the new year about classroom uses for the Kindle Touch.

This will be my last post for 2011. Grading and end of semester activities will take up the rest of the month. Afterwards, I will be taking some time off around the holidays. Normal posting will return early in 2012. See you then.