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Many Early Adopters of the Amazon Fire Are Unhappy 463

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that the Kindle Fire, Amazon's heavily promoted tablet, is less than a blazing success, with many of its early users packing the device up and firing it back to the retailer. A few of their many complaints: there is no external volume control. The off switch is easy to hit by accident. Web pages take a long time to load. There is no privacy on the device; a spouse or child who picks it up will instantly know everything you have been doing and the touch screen is frequently hesitant and sometimes downright balky. Amazon's response was: 'In less than two weeks, we're rolling out an over-the-air update to Kindle Fire.' The only problem with that is many of the complaints are hardware related and no amount of software can fix one of the early blunders: 'The fire is shipped in a box that advertised on the outside of the box exactly what it is. "Hello, you, thief, please come steal me!"' wrote one would-be customer who, as you might guess, had her Fire stolen and was left with the box. This was supposed to be an iPad killer, with its much lower price point, but Apple is tough to beat because most of its mistakes are software-based."
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Many Early Adopters of the Amazon Fire Are Unhappy

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  • What a surprise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 12, 2011 @05:55PM (#38348108)

    Another "iPad killer" in the dustbin. You are not going to compete with Apple with some cobbled together piece of junk. The iPad is positioned to be as dominant as the iPod in the mp3 player market.

    • Re:What a surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:14PM (#38348370)

      There's very little wrong with the Kindle fire that can't be fixed with software.

      I owned one, and returned it. I returned it because I prefer the e-ink screen of the Kindle DX for reading. If you want a tablet, the Fire is fine.

      The problem is that the operating system is not ready for release, it feels like it's in a beta state. There's no way to customize most of the things you look at and think "Hmm, I wish I could ..."

      The volume button position is weird, but you can simply turn the device over and the screen flips. It's no issue. Some people bellyache about the external volume control, but so what? Does that kill a device that comes in a less than half it's competitors' price point?

      The Silk browser was reportedly sped up greatly after the first software update - I returned mine before taking it.

      The Kindle Fire was rushed out before the OS was ready. A couple updates down the road, it will be a very nice competitor to the iPad.

      • (sorry, I meant "The power button position is weird...")

      • Re:What a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nightfell ( 2480334 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:32PM (#38348654)

        There's very little wrong with the Kindle fire that can't be fixed with software.

        You state that as though good software is so easy to write, it can be treated as an afterthought.

        Sadly, many hardware makers share your view, which is one of the major reasons why every. single. iPad "killer" has failed miserably.

        • Re:What a surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

          by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:37PM (#38348738)

          The issue isn't that it can't be done it's that they typically don't have the incentive to do so. B&N greatly improved the first gen Nook after release. They added a full fledged web browser, greatly improved the page flip speed and generally making it function better than it did on launch.

          Realistically, that stuff ought to be done before the product launches, but if the company cares it definitely can be done, you just don't always know where the bug lies, in software or hardware.

          • by shmlco ( 594907 )

            "... but if the company cares it definitely can be done..."

            Simplistic answer. It's not whether or not they care. Do they have the expertise? Do they design by committee, with everyone and their kid bother sticking their opinion into the mix? Do they have the time? Do they have the money?

            The later two boil down to commitment? HP looked at what it would take to compete in the marketplace, and threw in the towel.

          • Re:What a surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

            by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @12:34AM (#38351972)

            A friend of mine bought a nook and modded it into a very nice android tablet. I was amazed how simple it was to do it. Nice touch screen on the nook by the way. Very responsive.

      • Re:What a surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:28PM (#38349548)

        The volume button position is weird, but you can simply turn the device over and the screen flips. It's no issue. Some people bellyache about the external volume control, but so what? Does that kill a device that comes in a less than half it's competitors' price point?

        The most direct competitor to the Kindle Fire is either the B&N Nook Color ($50 more than Fire when Fire was launched, now the same price, lower hardware specs in general, but does have an SD card slot, and many reviews have the Kindle Fire performing worse on many common tasks) and the B&N Nook Tablet (released shortly after the fire, at a $50 higher price point, similar processor specs to the Kindle Fire, but more RAM, local storage, SD card slot, and most head-to-heads I've seen find it performs better overall.)

        Neither B&N device has the power button placement issues or lack of external volume controls that the Fire has, either.

        Amazon clearly wants people to compare the Fire to the iPad on price, because a not-quite-iPad at half the price sounds like a good value proposition, and the best chance Amazon has at succeeding with the Fire is if that's how people see it, but its closest competitors on price, form factor, and features aren't from Apple.

      • by skroz ( 7870 )

        Which is precisely where apple (usually) succeeds and others fail. Apple would NEVER have released a product in the same state Amazon released the Fire. Generally speaking (and there are most certainly exceptions,) Apple won't release a product until it's "done." Other tech companies really should learn from this example.

        I'm often stunned by the crap that modern "consumers" are willing to accept.

      • There's very little wrong with the Kindle fire that can't be fixed with software.

        Providing, of course, that they want to fix it. Both I and my wife have a Kindle 3 , and it's fine at what it does, but except for its form factor, the Fire isn't really a tablet. They're just calling it that because of the buzzword factor

    • Re:What a surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:34PM (#38348686) Homepage

      Who are these mythical people that were claiming that this was somehow supposed to be some sort of "iPad killer"?

      It think this whole thing is just a bogus false strawman.

      Book readers predate the iPad. This is perhaps just a slightly better Book reader and is sized and priced accordingly. I think all of the people whining about "iPad killers" want to set up false expectations and some sort of hollow non-victory.

      • Book readers predate the iPad. This is perhaps just a slightly better Book reader and is sized and priced accordingly

        The Kindle Fire (like the Nook Color and Nook Tablet from B&N) are marketed as tablets (the Nook Color was originally marketed as "the reader's tablet"), and marketing for both the Amazon and B&N devices often includes the e-Ink devices from the same vendors as preferred devices as readers while the LCD devices are pushed as tablets.

        While the iPad may not be the most relevant comparis

    • Re:What a surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:21PM (#38349412) Journal

      I'm conflicted here because the Kindle Fire is not for me; the form factor and CPU are good but I'm going to wait for a 7" pad with an SD card slot. (Other than the overpriced Galaxy.) On the other hand, I used an iPad for a week and gave it back; clearly that overpriced and overhyped device is not for me either. I guess I'm not a fanboi.

      I followed some of the links, trying to find where Amazon has called the Fire an "ipod killer", and the only place I can find that phrase used is by various media pundits. (For instance, one PCMag article cites an earlier PCMag article. Wow, we're not CREATING news, are we?)

      It appears that Amazon was trying to create a reader on a code base that they don't have to maintain themselves, that was compatible with Kindle content and also had some browsing capability. (Someone will surely correct me if I'm wrong.) I personally think it doesn't have enough memory or expandability to be a serious contender in the tablet marketplace, but that isn't important.

      The Nook Color has some issues too. If we had the processor of the Fire and the features of the Color running full Android 3+ including Marketplace instead of dinking around with crippled versions of the OS, at that price point, or even a little more, well, I'd buy one. Some day it'll happen.

      The Fire will either succeed (with a much needed firmware update) or it will fail. It doesn't really matter, as there will be alternatives. Some day, someone will take Amazon's idea of not trying to compete with the iPad as a boutique item but actually make a usable tablet for a reasonable price, and it'll really take off. But it'll have to be, you know, usable.

      But I'm uncomfortable with "X will be a Y killer" especially when "Y" has a near-hysterically devoted fanbase. Rather, I think there is room in the marketplace for multiple products, including ones for people who are looking for a certain set of capabilities, and ones for people looking for a certain logo engraved on the trendy stainless back.

      (And yes, I'm being intentionally provocative, as I found the tone of the parent article irritating and fanboi-ish.)

      • Get an Archos 80 G9 or Archos 101 G9. The 80 G9 has an 8" screen, way better specs all around than the Fire, Honeycomb (soon to be Ice Cream Sandwich), and you can pick it up on Amazon for only $70 more.
  • by aaronfaby ( 741318 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @05:56PM (#38348110)
    Might as well buy a Kia and complain that it's not as polished of a driving experience as a BMW.
    • by Roachgod ( 589171 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:04PM (#38348240)
      I know right. Damn Kia, costing half as much and actually running all the time. How am I supposed to convince my friends I'm wealthy and successful when my car actually works. Yeesh.
    • Out in the wild, there really ARE some who buy a Kia, and expect certain things that the Beamer touts. And I just watch in total amazement at their total sincerity.
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      Might as well buy a Kia and complain that it's not as polished of a driving experience as a BMW.

      Oddly enough, I rented a Kia several months ago and found it a highly competent car. Didn't have leather seats or seat warmers, but it still accellerated well, was comfortable to ride in and handled well in rain and snow.

      As go the Kindle Fire, I saw somewhere there's a planned update for it to address some of the complaints. Once again - Sell now, fix bugs later - as a business model. So this is the future, eh? What next, hand you a box of components you take to a store for them to assemble?

    • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:18PM (#38348420)

      Except by all accounts, nearly none of these problems exist for the Nook Color which is the same price. The Nook Color is slower than an iPad, but it is generally responsive and fairly well polished, especially after a year of updates. The Kindle Fire by comparison is a shoddy rushed product.

      So this is like buying a Kia when you could have gotten a better Hyundai for the same price.

  • by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @05:57PM (#38348140)

    I have a Kindle Fire. I generally like it but the gripes above apply (no volume control, no security/locking for reading history, etc).

    I can't wait to install a replacement version of android that's more like what you find on other tablets and phones: []

    (I have no association with whatever site that is, I'm just exciting to be getting cyanogenmod on the fire).

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @05:58PM (#38348150) Journal
    "Itâ(TM)s expected to sell well among parents who always buy the wrong thing." according to Seth Meyers from SNL []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 12, 2011 @05:59PM (#38348162)

    I picked up my kindle fire about three weeks ago. I will not even try to hide the fact that it has flaws. However, the feature list for the price is exactly what I wanted.

    It's no iPad killer, but anyone who thinks they're going to get a 200 dollar product to replace a 500 dollar+ one is delusional.

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      anyone who thinks they're going to get a 200 dollar product to replace a 500 dollar+ one is delusional.

      Or involved, however tangentially, in the tech field. Like a /. reader. Where the "old $500+ thing" is supposed to be "$200" after a rather short time.

      Kind of like how my new TV would have sold for about 10x what I just paid for it many years ago. Or I can't even buy a 4 GB SSD, but if they were out there, an extrapolation of current prices shows they'd sell for about a 50th what I paid for mine some years ago.

      Its interesting that the latest ipod touch sells at exactly the same price as my ancient first

      • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @07:09PM (#38349238)

        i-devices don't seem to drop in price like everything else in the tech world, they just gain in performance.

        That's because i-devices are made by one supplier. When they start selling the next model, they discontinue the previous. They're removed from the market before their price begins to appreciatively decrease.

    • If you read the android fanboy comments the $200 device is everything the $500 is and more. The iPad simply can't compete. That of course was before the Fire was released.
  • by pburghdoom ( 1892490 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:01PM (#38348182)
    it has been on every frigin tech news site. Sicker yet of all the frigin people complaining about a $200 dollar device because they think it should be as polished and as feature rich as a $500+ device. The Fire is awesome at what it was designed for, consuming media at a budget. I think it was all the hype about the "iPad killer" and everyone was expecting so much more.
    • Well, yeah. From the moment of its announcement til now, it's been heralded as the most serious competitor to the iPad yet. Nevermind that this was said before a single product had shipped, or even a single reviewer had gotten one to write up about. So of course consumers are going to buy into it thinking that it'll do just as good of a job, if not better, as the iPad at every task they want to use it for.

    • That's something that Apple has figured out that others are still struggling with.

      There are tons of people who will happily spend $500+ on a toy once or twice a year. They're very happy with their iPads. There are lots of people who won't spend $200 on a toy. They're not tablet customers at the moment. The number of people who have rational expectations, will spend $200 on a toy known to be more limited than the $500 toy, but who won't spend $500 on the iPad is... small.

      • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:38PM (#38348750)

        Another way to look at it is chronologically over a persons lifetime.

        Large segments of my life, theres no way I could afford to blow $200 on a toy or even a useful $200 tool simply because there's no way I could scrape up that kind of cash. So who cares about the ipad or the fire. The question is more like "homemade mac n cheese" or "homemade pizza". Medical insurance would have been nice in my 20s as a college student, but crazy me, I decided to gamble I'll stay healthy, and eat instead. I'm sure if I stopped eating I'd soon need the health insurance.

        Large segments of my life, basically the last 15 years or so, I can blow $500 on a toy without blinking too hard (as long as I don't make a regular habit of doing this kind of shopping weekly or monthly, I can do it without blinking, anyway). Years of shopping when I was poor at walmart taught me the whole "penny wise pound foolish" thing. So I don't buy junk, I'd rather wait a couple months and save for an ipad than buy something inferior. Which is exactly what I did WRT buying an ipad.

        The interval of my life where I could afford to spend $200 on a toy, but cannot afford to spend $500 on a toy... Honestly, I donno, like maybe two whole weeks of my life? The two weeks between getting my first "real job" paycheck catching up on past bills etc and getting my second "real job" paycheck? Those two weeks would have been a great time to buy a Kindle Fire. The rest of my life I was either out of the market entirely, or I'm buying the gold standard aka the ipad.

        Pretty much people are either cash flow negative or scraping along the bottom just barely not drowning for now, or they're cash flow positive and little expenses like this are no big deal... To me, as a homeowner, a big expense is replacing the water heater, $2000 of repair work. Or my beautiful $6000 roof job including replacing the water soaked attic insulation quickly before it molds. Or my $800 new dishwasher. Those are big expenses. Trying to excite me with an also ran for $200 instead of $500 isn't really ... exciting. Like trying to get me to buy the 25 cent case screws on my desktop instead of the turned brass thumbscrews holding my case together that cost about a buck each... obviously I spend the buck...

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Volume buttons aren't exactly 'feature rich'. I had a hands on and yes, I could tell the touch capability was worse than my Android phone, but I thought it sufficient and understandable given the price point. Given the frequency and urgency that frequently comes with volume adjustment made the lack of volume control a deal breaker however.

    • Sicker yet of all the frigin people complaining about a $200 dollar device because they think it should be as polished and as feature rich as a $500+ device.

      Many of the articles I've seen have been noting that while it's been hyped as an iPad killer, not only is it not in that league, its also got some work to do to catch up with the $250 Nook Tablet from B&N.

      The iPad comparison is one that Amazon has invited because it would rather be granted passes based on how much cheaper it is than the iPad than be

  • Privacy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Osiris Ani ( 230116 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:01PM (#38348190)

    "There is no privacy on the device; a spouse or child who picks it up will instantly know everything you have been doing."

    I don't know the situation for the complainers, but my Kindle Fire has a passcode enabled.

    Settings > Security > Lock Screen Password

    • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stanjo74 ( 922718 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:15PM (#38348394)
      It's not that you cannot prevent people from using the device (lock the device). The problem is that the device is not sharable (in the family). Here is why I returned mine: - No password protection for purchases - anyone can push the "buy" button for digital purchases (books, magazines, music, videos, apps) and it immediate gets purchased without prompting for password. There isn't even an "are you sure?" prompt. Imagine this in the hands of a 6 year-old. - Last browsed pages stay first in the carousel, with page preview - anybody can see, right there on first page, what I browsed last. All this can be fixed with software, and I may buy it again when it gets fixed, but until then iPad rules the home.
      • All this can be fixed with software

        There's the fundamental disconnect. From my perspective, I don't accept the premise that your issue with the basic functionality of the device is something that should be considered "broken" per se. In fact, if the default behavior were as you wanted it, I would consider it to be a negative. We simply have differing opinions on how personal such a device should actually be.

        Indeed, I do imagine this in the hands of a six-year-old, and that would be a nightmare. Thankfully, it's password-protected, because it

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by scot4875 ( 542869 )

        The problem is that the device is not sharable (in the family).

        Umm, which tablet currently available in the marketplace *does* sport an OS that is easily shared? I'll grant you the password protection for digital purchases, but the rest is par for the course for tablet devices.


  • by Fri13 ( 963421 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:02PM (#38348212)

    Actually many hardware problems can be fixed with software.

    You can not change physical switch position, but with software you can change how long you need to keep switch in specific position until it will do something. So you can fix most of the problems with software when problems are that device is turned off or put on sleep mode by accident touch.

    Of course software can not add a external volume buttons, but with software you can bind some existing buttons to work as such (if there is such buttons). Or you can add a easy to access virtual button to offer those functions. It is more a hack but can work for many.

    The sensitivity of touch screen can be fixed with software, as software rules again how the input data is being used. Better to have very sensitivite input touch screen and then slow down outpus what with software.

    What comes to privacy, well, that can be fixed with software as well, place PIN code or something similar. Add lock to every application and make a easy way to delete history of web browsing or book history etc.

  • Oh my (Score:3, Informative)

    by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:05PM (#38348254)

    "a spouse or child who picks it up will instantly know everything you have been doing"

    So don't sit around the house looking at porn.

    • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

      I thought that was exactly what tablets were for?

    • So don't sit around the house looking at porn.

      You're missing the point, this isn't about what you are doing with the tablet while a kid is in the room.

      It displays a history of what you have been doing when you start it up as a carousel of images so that you can go back to the book you were reading or the website you were browsing quickly next time you pick it up

      The problem is, if the tablet is used by more than one person, is it really approapriate that everyone sees what you've been reading/watching/br

  • really, what twit came up with that type of button and its location?

    The browser was actually worse than I expected, however I still keep the Fire on the breakfast table for catching up on email. Why? Because it is very one hand friendly. That form factor is great for just holding one handed while eating with another. I know it sounds silly to some, but I like tend to read by holding a paper or such in my left hand it is sized just right to do so. The iPad actually doesn't work so well because of is size.


  • Parents Beware (Score:5, Informative)

    by MCSEBear ( 907831 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:09PM (#38348314)
    The Fire arrives configured for Amazon One Click purchases, and the option to disable this does not work. Anyone who picks up your Fire will be able to order anything they like without any password, PIN, or other attempt to verify the purchase being made.

    See here: Serious Security Flaw In The Kindle Fire []
  • by WeirdAlchemy ( 2530168 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:10PM (#38348324)
    Was this article funded by Apple? It's very biased, as demonstrated by the fact that they cite the 22% of people who don't like the Fire rather than the 88% who clearly do. Even if _every_ one of those 22% gave it one star and _every_ one of the other 88% gave it only 4 stars, it's still a 3.75 rating. My wife got one a while back and she loves it. Sure, it's not an iPad, but it's also only $199, and it fits in a good-size pocket. It's a great little tablet for the price of two nice dinners. I sill prefer the real e-ink, but for getting all the additional tablet features, I'd say it's a pretty good compromise. Sure, it could use some improvements, but its the first generation, and it does what its advertised to do. Anyone used to Android should have no problem with it.
  • It's designed to consume Amazon services. It does that quite well. It also plays angry birds.

  • Buttons! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:15PM (#38348390)

    there is no external volume control.

    You know you have problems when you have fewer buttons than the equivalent Apple device.

  • by SocialEngineer ( 673690 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [adnapdetrevni]> on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:18PM (#38348426) Homepage

    I'm an owner, and am VERY satisfied with my device.

    The complaints I have are minor. It can take a little bit for it to connect to a wifi network, but that's not a huge deal. Sometimes, it's a little sensitive in registering taps, but that's once again not a big issue. The carousel is a little too speedy for my liking, but I rarely use it, and when I do, it's usually just to open the very most recent thing I've opened.

    I haven't noticed any real speed issues with it; at least, nothing show-stopping. Books read fine. If you're trying to fly through a bunch of pages like you're thumbing through a book to find a certain page, sure, it can slow down there, but I almost never do that. Games & streaming content perform perfectly.

    I didn't notice any real issue with the browser; I was able to load websites faster on my Kindle than a local iPad owner, over the same wifi connection.

    Typing is easy for me; in landscape mode it can be slightly difficult, but not unusable. I usually use portrait mode, anyway.

    The lack of physical volume controls doesn't bother me at all. It's stupid-easy to get to, and keeps me from accidentally raising/lowering volume.

    I do wish I could change the lock screen photo(s) easily, but that's not exactly important.

    Regarding the lock/power button, I have NEVER accidentally tripped it, and I'm using it on a daily basis in a variety of situations.

    If you look at reviews on Amazon, there are a good number of 4 and 5 star reviews; more than 3 or less.

  • $199 tablet not as good as $499 tablet. News at 11:00.

  • by brainzach ( 2032950 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:50PM (#38348908)

    All these negative reviews focus too much on the lack of polish of the UI is compared to the actual usefulness of the device. It's UI lags behind iOS, but it is about the same as a mid range Android device, which are widely successful.

    I own the Kindle Fire, and its flaws are really just minor annoyances with device, but the overall experience is good enough. I can surf the Internet, watch videos and play graphic intense games no problem and the small form factor makes it comfortable to hold in one hand. Just because you occasionally have to double tap on a button or experience a 1/2 second lag every once in a while, doesn't mean that the $200 tablet is a failure.

  • iPad Killer? What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NitroWolf ( 72977 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @06:52PM (#38348954)

    This device was never intended to be an iPad killer. Amazon itself said as much. The linked article makes it sound like it was set to be an iPad killer by "important people," but the link just links back to another article. What a joke.

    The fire is not intended, has not been intended to be an iPad killer. It's a cheap tablet device that does what many people need it to do without all the extras that the iPad has that some people will never use. It's one of the primary reasons I returned my iPad and got a Color Nook and rooted it - the Nook did everything I wanted a tablet to do at a fraction of the price. If I were to do the same thing today, I would buy a fire instead of a Nook.

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Monday December 12, 2011 @10:57PM (#38351324) Homepage

    I have as many Apple devices as the company (literally 5 or more computers, three ipods in the house, and an ipad). I like their products a lot and I love the ipad for web browsing and such. I use it daily.

    I bought a Kindle Fire last Friday and I think it's great. Is it an iPad? Well, no. But it's a nice device that doesn't have to be compared to the iPad. It stands on its own and is a fine device. It actually fits in some of my pants pockets, so I like the size even if the screen's a little smaller. It plays Angry Birds and a lot of other games, it has nice built-in software (I like Silk), and I have no problem changing the volume on-screen. The batter also lasts a long time.

    I feel like this comparison is similar to the comparisons made between the iPad and some low-end netbooks or notebooks when the iPad first came out. The iPad was a different device but quite useful, and now the Kindle Fire is also a slightly different device but also quite useful. It might not be what every wants, but I think it's a fine device.

  • I am extremely happy with my Kindle Fire, far more than I would be with an iPad if someone had given me one for free. The form factor is right for the airplane and for reading in bed, much more useful for what I want it for than a 10" tablet would be.

    It's true that exactly like the iPad, the iPhone, every Android phone, every other Android tablet, HP's ill fated WebOS tablet, most default OSX, Linux, and Windows installation with auto-login enabled, etc. that there is no privacy protection. It's a single user device, and anyone who sees the device can pretty easily determine what its user was doing on it recently (and in general). That is indeed perhaps a weakness, and I wouldn't mind having Android devices (especially tablets, but perhaps phones also) be multiuser (likewise for the iWhatever stuff).

    During my most recent plane trip with my Kindle Fire, which unlike an iPad fits in my pocket, I:

    * Read a variety of documents sent to the device from web pages using the Firefox Readability plugin
    * Read some PDF documents
    * Read (part of) some books that I purchased from Amazon
    * Watched a video that I downloaded directly onto the device from a 3rd party website (in anticipation of flight)
    * Listened to some music I had put locally onto the device
    * Played a few moves of Words with Friends before takeoff
    * Played Plants vs. Zombies while in flight
    * Checked GMail and Facebook and Google+ quickly before takeoff (using Wifi connection to hotspot)

    In every respect that I can see, not least including price, but even more so including Freedom, the Kindle Fire is a far better device than the iPad is.

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