What the Kindle Fire is and isn’t – from Free-eBooks.net

Now that the dust has settled from the Kindle Fire announcement, I’d like to take a closer look at the Fire and its cousins and give our readers a better idea of which one to choose.

What the Kindle Fire is NOT

First things first: ignore the “Kindle vs iPad” articles and debates currently raging. The Kindle Fire is NOT in the same class of device as the iPad and therefore is not a straightforward alternative when tablet shopping.

Without getting too technical, the iPad is the nearest thing to a mobile computer as you can probably get right now – aside from tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

If you’re looking to take your Amazon.com experience with you everywhere you go (books, store, movies, tv shows, magazine, newspapers, etc) – then the Kindle Fire is the affordable choice.

If you want to be able to edit files, play a wide variety of games, take pictures and share, enjoy FaceTime or Skype calls, have access to apps such as ‘LogMeIn Ignition’ or word processors such as ‘WriteRoom’ or ‘Pages’, then you won’t get that on a Kindle Fire.

In fact, without getting a first hand look at the Fire, I am hesitant to say that their app offerings will be in any way comparable to the Apple store offerings.

What the Kindle Fire IS

So, what is the use of a Kindle Fire? In 4 words: an enhanced Amazon experience.

The Fire is intended to give you, the customer, eReading in color, movies and TV shows and the Amazon.com store – right in one central beautifully rendered and small package; and all for an affordable price.

So no – it’s not something you should consider to buy instead of an iPad or a Galaxy tablet. It’s something else entirely.

If you want to compare the Fire to something already on the shelves, compare it to the Barnes and Noble Nook Color.

And indeed, the Nook took a hard hit with this announcement last week. Shares fell and the price of the Nook has suffered a $25 drop. I am betting Barnes and Noble were hoping to woo some pre-order fans from waiting for the Fire to ordering a Nook now.

Is the Kindle Fire my only option?

In short – No.

Amazon announced 2 other Kindles that will accompany the Fire off the assembly lines for the upcoming holidays.

The Kindle Touch (WiFi or WiFi+3G) and the Kindle (non-touch, WiFi and WiFi+3G).

The Kindle Touch, from all appearances, will be the answer to the Nook touch what many die-hard Kindle users, like myself, have been waiting for. The Kindle is the low-end device for those who just like to read and won’t need a keyboard or a touch-enabled experience.

Any last words? Yes please.

Personally, I’ve been waiting for the Kindle to go touch for a few months. And since I had the opportunity to go hands on with the Nook (touch eInk) back in July, I have been even more eager. Mine is already pre-ordered and I am silently counting down the days until it arrives on my front door step.

For you guys, though, here’s my advice:

If you like the atmosphere of a Barnes and Noble retail store experience and the freedom to walk in and read in-store? Nook is your device.

If you like having a tablet that is multi-purpose but not necessarily for high-end technical or professional activities (read: games, etc.) for half the price of an iPad, then Nook Color is your device. Plus it includes that freedom to read in-store mentioned above.

If you like staying away from dedicated book sellers like Barnes and Noble, or high-priced devices such as the iPad but still want the full tablet experience with the added benefit of eReading – then check out the Galaxy Tab.

If you don’t much care about the hype at all and just want an eReader for an affordable price, the new base Kindle is a good choice; or you can brave the lesser known eReaders out there: Sony, Kobo, Aluratek, etc.

The point is that you DO have other alternatives, and we here at Free-eBooks.net want to be sure you have as much of the facts as we can cram into one post – just so you get what you want – nothing more, nothing less.

  • Lark Lennox

    In the first sentence of this article, “it’s” should be spelled “its”.

    • http://fyrfli.net Camille

      Thanks for the heads up. :)

    • Cousin it

      Word Nazi go home!!

  • R West

    I heard that Google is offering an alternative e-reader that somehow can download from the books offered thru Google. Do you know anything about that?

    • Anonymous

      There is a Google Books app for both Android and iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch). I haven’t heard of a separate Google e-reader device, but the app should run on most tablets and maybe on the Nook as well (since it’s Android).

    • http://fyrfli.net Camille

      What @chcurtis said. :)

      Plus, I’m not sure just how extensive the Google eBook library is right now or how open to outside material the app is.

  • Kentlog7

    Isn’t anyone ever going to tell me what this thing CAN do? Most important, can it receive, compose replies and send e-mail? Surfing the web and e-mailing is probably 90% of what most people do. I have seen a 7″ tablet that does all these things and more for less than $200 in WallMart.

    • http://fyrfli.net Camille

      Your response is exactly why I needed to get it out there – the Kindle Fire is not an all-purpose tablet computer. And if you’ve never used Amazon.com for shopping, books, movies or tv shows, you won’t even be able to appreciate what it CAN do.

      Out of the box, it’s not intended to do emails or surf the web.

      It’s intended to give you living color Amazon.com. And that’s about it.

      It’s said there will be an app store to allow you to extend it’s capabilities, but with only 8GB on-board, non-expandable memory, there is very little expansion you will be able to do.

  • Mgb1116

    I have the new kobo touch and think it is great. i can lend books from the library as well as buy which makes a greast option. it is comfortable to use and price affordable.

    • http://fyrfli.net Camille

      Awesome! Thanks for your input.

      I’ll have to see if I can’t get some more info on the Kobo touch so I can present a detailed comparison for our readers.

  • Lisa

    Do any of the kindles have expansion slots to read from a memory card?

    • http://fyrfli.net Camille

      Unfortunately, none of the Kindles have expansion slots of any kind.

      However, they all do provide free Cloud storage for all your Amazon.com (only) content; i.e. eBooks, movies, tv shows, etc.

  • Anonymous

    The real question is, have they added the ability to read ePub documents? This is what has stopped my from getting a Kindle for years. If they have finally added this functionality, I’ll buy this tomorrow.

    • http://fyrfli.net Camille

      Officially, I would only guess that the answer to that is “no”.

      In theory, and with a hoop jump or 2, you might be able to convert ePubs to their format (azw; or even mobipocket) and THEN send to your kindle, but for rabid readers that’s a deal-breaker, I am sure. That’s too much hoop jumping to make it worthwhile. Especially if you have a large ePub library to start off with.

      On the flip side, I know that for me, moving to an ePub eReader is a deal-breaker simply because I had a large library established on amazon.com from the introduction of the Kindle 1.

  • Claire-ellen

    I have had the Sony e-reader for abot 2 years & have read around 200 books, which i couldn’t have afforded if not for Free-ebooks as well as the ability to use the Public Library. I bought the one with more “bells & whistles” so paid more but it’s well worth it! Best of all I appreciate the 24 hour phone assistance they offer, having used it many times. some of the features are Audio books, dictionary, periodicals, photos and notes. No color, but most library books aren’t in color. Don’t know what you mean by touch as mine is used by touch? And I love it. The extra cost is covered by using free books and library books. Sony does have a library, with low cost books which I use ocasionally. Go on line and check this model out !

    • http://fyrfli.net Camille

      Thank you for the feedback. :)

  • Antnonia

    As a Kindle Fire owner I have to say that I love mine. I did not expect it to be a full fledged tablet, which it is not. I have a laptop for when I need a computer. However, I love reading books on my Fire and I think that the experiance is wonderful. You don’t have to get them just from Amazon.
    Amazon also has many apps for the Kindle and you can sideload Android apps as well. (I have not rooted my Fire but sideloading is simple.) I have to say that I am happy that I did not purchase the iPod touch and I got the Kindle Fire instead.