I’m really interested in Amazon’s new Kindle Fire. This is why I will probably get a Kindle e-reader instead. Nothing against the Fire, but like any first generation product, it seems to need a few refinements that would go a long way to improving the product. I am not sure when the second generation Fire will be released, possibly as late as this time next year, but I’m fine with that sort of timeline. After all, this doesn’t even come close to falling into the “need” category. That additional time will give Amazon time to fill in the app store (which is a generic term despite what Apple’s patent troll lawyers would have you believe), improve battery life, optimize the interface and performance, and either add an external memory card slot (unlikely) or increase the internal memory (more likely). As a user who would be away from meaningful bandwidth for long periods of time, I want the ability to load up a lot of content to consume at a later time. Also, they should even out the wider bezel on the fourth side which would drive me crazy. From the reviews I’ve seen, the Fire does most things ‘OK’, but not so incredibly well that it dominates the competition. Of course, at a $200 price point, there will be design compromises.
Instead of the Fire, a regular Kindle e-reader will be the first step in achieving two simple things. First, reading more. As a portable e-book, a Kindle will travel well and be far lighter and easier than lugging around actual books when I travel. I have one book here with me. It’s a long, dense tome that I can finish by the end of this rotation. Once I am done, I will bring it back Stateside and probably never bring another book here. Everything will go electronic after that. Second, it’s a step into Amazon’s world. A trial run in some ways before getting a Kindle Fire or Amazon Prime or generally giving Amazon the benefit of the full halo effect from my consumer purchases. This is where Apple failed me. While my brother went from iPod to MacBook to Time Capsule to MacBook Pro to iPad to iPhone, I went the other direction. I went from iPod to MacBook to screw this. I went back to Windows with my last laptop purchase and it suits my needs much better than the Apple-verse ever could. Are my Windows PC, Zune media player, and Android phone fragmented? Of course, but there are distinct advantages to that. Even with a possible entry into Amazon's deep realm of offerings, I will still maintain my silos.
At this point, the only real decision I am mulling is which Kindle e-reader to get. The third generation that has been re-branded as Kindle Keyboard? The low-cost, Wi-Fi only Kindle fourth generation? The new Kindle Touch with 3G? The price point is thankfully esoteric. The question is one of interface and usefulness for me. Amazon, soon.