Apologies to Kindle-Edition blog subscribers, as I needed to be away the last few days. I used my tablet to look at the news and, as far as the Kindle world goes, not much was happening except tons of reactions to the reduction in prices on the Kindle Fire 8.9" HD and what it all means, including the expansion of the tablets to Europe and Japan.
The reviews of the 8.9" model were similar to what we've read before but far less detailed. They were actually more restatements of the product page information, so those past reviews, linked, are a bit more informative. At the end, in response to people in the forums asking whether to get a Kindle Fire HD 7" or 8.9" (if wanting a Kindle Fire HD at all), I'll add links to a couple of earlier blog articles and the earlier basic comparison chart of Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus, and Apple iPad mini, so those are the most popular 7" to 9" models.
BUT, a reaction column that most struck me was one that didn't wonder why the prices are now lower but asks instead when will Kindles (the topic being tablets) become free, and the writer, Beth Bacon, for Digital Book World, asks further why one would get one when the Apple iPad is available, which she considers more fully featured.
She seems sincere in thinking most wanting a tablet would prefer a pure Android tablet or a Microsoft OS or spend $230+ more for the most basic iPad because, as she explains, Kindle owners would mainly want to read books and Kindle books can be read on an Apple while Apple books can't be read on any other system.
? Hasn't the general complaint by general gadget writers and news-site commenters been that Amazon's attitude is wholly proprietary and you HAVE to buy a Kindle to read their books? Yet it's Apple, she points out, that keeps other devices unable to read Apple iStore books. And this is written as a Plus!
As many know, you can read a Kindle book on almost every operating system under the sun, which can make words on an LCD screen somewhat hard to read. You don't need a Kindle at all, to read a Kindle book.
But what many general gadget reporters aren't familiar with are the many convenient features the Kindle Team has given their devices, and just a few of these are;
1. Syncing of the reading of a book among all your devices (Apple doesn't even try);
2. a free, private, password-protected personal webpage for your annotations on all your books;
3. features that tell you which actors are in the current streaming Instant Video scene you're watching;
4. the quickly-findable X-Ray'd info on any character or event name in a book you're reading, and
5. if you choose a Prime Shipping program feature for free 2-day shipments of physical purchases, you also get the now 16,300+ no-fee Prime Eligible instant videos to watch at any time.
On Friday, before leaving, I did respond to The Digital Books World article, and Bacon was good enough to print it (this is not always the case when a commenter adds some conflicting information). Here's what I wrote -- not even mentioning the 5 points above! -- plus a correction I'm making:
' Andrys on March 15, 2013 at 8:42 pm said: [to]
Why would anyone buy a Kindle when there are full-featured tablets like Apple’s $500 one or the $900 Microsoft Surface Pro?
Factors include what features people are looking for. David makes good points about ease of accessibility to the media mentioned.
1. A microHDMI port out to an HDTV (the Apple doesn’t have this) and people have used it to watch their Kindle tablet videos (even Prime Instant) on hotel HDTVs that way. **
2. A stereo set of speakers that are placed on on each end when watching movies or TV show videos and with Dolby Stereo for unusual spatial qualities and automated frequency emphasis depending on whether it’s speech or music.
The iPad has two small speakers almost side by side on one short end – no stereo effect during movies unless you put on headphones or use external speakers
3. Amazon allows apps from "unknown sources" (Non-Amazon app stores) and Kindle Fire users can download, direct to the tablet, the popular Dolphin browser which supports the older Adobe Flash Reader still available that can be used easily, despite Adobe’s dropped support for mobile devices using the later Android 4.x systems.
Because of this, Kindle Fire users can watch free network TV full-episodes like ABC’s entire primetime programs (and some daytime shows) when they missed an episode, as the network TV websites still use Flash for that, and Apple's Steve Jobs disdained running Flash on iOS, depending on sites to use HTML5. ***
4. The 7" size is proving very popular and Amazon’s has Retina-type high resolution while Apple’s iPad mini has lower, standard resolution but costs more.
5. It's like deciding not to bill for purchase of an economy car (giving them away instead) when an advertised-full-featured car is available (and when the fuller-featured car does not have some high-valued features that the less-expensive car does have).
6. There are now many Android app stores, including 1mobile.com, which carries over 200,000 apps, which are directly downloadable and usable for Kindle Fire devices. '
Here's the blog article on how to install non-Amazon appstore apps, which is done with Amazon's own settings option (an option which Barnes and Noble kept off the Nook system so that people have to find risky 'rooted' solutions to get the same features, which is one reason the Nook tablets haven't done as well in market share, in addition to having far less of an ecosystem for tablet entertainment).
In-depth Reviews comparing the Kindle Fire HDs, the Google Nexus and the Apple
Here are what reviews-in-depth reported in comparisons of similar-sized tablets, which found aspects not touched upon by the more superficial reviews citing pure speed or direct access to Google Play (and I would recommend that those who love games most get a Nexus and those who want apps that are compatible with their iPhones get the iPad models)
1. Reviews of Kindle Fire HD 7 vs Nexus
2. More on iPad mini vs Kindle Fire HD
Also, I'm placing below, the basic comparison table I put together in September, which has been updated for changing prices (please let me know if I've missed anything in that).
QUICK table of differences in features for price, with Google Nexus and IPad mini
|Kindle Fire HD 7" |
1280 x 800 resolution
Dual stereo speakers
w/ Dolby Plus
HDMI-Out to HDTV
Front-facing camera, 1.2MP
Dual core TI OMAP 4470 w/ Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core
Dual band, 2 antenna WiFi
Battery-life claim: 11 hrs
Customized Android, does Amazon store w/setting that allows apps from other app stores
50,000 apps + access to getjar.com, 1mobile.com, etc for google-play apps
$10 more for a charger if you need one Older Kindle & smart phone chargers work
$15 add'l: no lockscreen ad
$229 for 32GB model
($269 for 16GB 8.9" 1920x1200 resolution, 254 ppi)
($299 for 32GB 8.9" 1920x1200 resolution, 254 ppi)
|Google Nexus 7"|
1280 x 800 resolution
8GB storage (up'd to 16GB)
One mono speaker *
No HDMI-out to HDTV
Front-facing camera < 1 MP
Quad core Tegra 3
Battery-life claim: 9-10 hrs
Pure Android and can do direct Google Play store
$249 for 32GB model
|Apple iPad mini 7.9 inch/|
1024 x 768 resolution
512MB? Per A5 chip specs. TBC.
Built-in speakers *
Nov. 2, Apple finally added an 's' to 'speaker' *
No HDMI out to HDTV **
Front (HD) & Back (to 1080p) cameras
Battery-life claim: 10 hrs
275,000 heavily-curated tablet-optimized apps
(Can also run small iPhone apps - any w/ Retina resources can scale w/o pixelating. 450,000 add'l.)
23% & 53% lighter than iPad.
Lighter than the other tablets.
$429 for 32GB model
* iPad mini: See Speaker discussion - to be changed when Apple changes its iPad mini specs page.
Update - On Nov. 2, Apple finally updated their iPad-Mini specs page to show "Built-in speakers" instead of "Built-in speaker" -- something I requested they do since Specs pages are official reference pages. The speaker grilles are about an inch or two apart, on one short side, and maybe that's why they don't mention 'stereo' after the correction. The whole thing has been bizarre. This might be the first iPad w/ two speakers with separate baffles but they can do nothing for movies or videos viewed the usual way, as they are close together on just one side.
Google Nexus: See Nexus owner forum thread about the speaker.
** Those w/ Apple TV's can do AirPlay Mirroring to them.
Contributor Tom Semple adds: Apple's new $49 "Lightning" adapter can provide HDMI out.
***Tom Semple adds he uses Puffin app to access Flash video on his iPad.
**** 7" HD Kindle Fire pricing was changed from $249 to $229 on April 11, 2013.
Table updated March 19, 2013, April 11, 2013
For the initial comparison article, I didn't include the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet HD,
which has higher display resolution - but it has no cameras, not even one for Skype (important for family & friends who like to communicate via video chat), and B&N will not allow owners to enable installation of apps from non-B&N sources. I may do an additional table later though.
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