Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

Summary: Amazon has been known for locking down the Kindle ebook readers, but all that caution has been thrown to the wind with the Kindle Fire.

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James posted an article earlier this morning explaining that he thought the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are not as open as he had hoped. Now that I have been using both devices for a day (big, multi-page review coming here tomorrow) I have to disagree with James and personally think the Kindle Fire is MUCH more open than I ever thought we would see, especially right out of the box.

In the past one major reason I always bought Kobo or Barnes & Noble Nooks for reading was the more open nature and support for EPUB and other standards while Amazon was pretty locked down with their Kindle content. Thus, I was expecting to see the same thing on the Amazon Kindle Fire. However, by simply plugging in the Kindle Fire to your PC or Mac you will see the internal memory appears as a drive where you can drag photos, documents, and other content right onto the device. In addition, by following these steps detailed by my buddy Sascha Segan in his guide titled, How To Run Almost Any Android App On the Kindle Fire, you can turn your new Kindle Fire into a very functional Android tablet.

I now have both the Kobo and Nook ebook reader applications and books on my Amazon Kindle Fire so with this one device I can read all the books I have purchased over the years on a single device. Granted, I can do this with my Apple iPad too, but the Kindle Fire is only $199.

For the serious geek, both the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet have also been rooted and you can hack away to your delight as well. I doubt the mainstream consumer will care about doing this, but these tablets are both quite open IMHO.

Topics: Laptops, Amazon, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

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  • As an owner of both Kindle Fire and iPad 2...

    I do like the Kindle in terms of format as it is easier to hold than the iPad but I find without a micro-USB cable, getting content on to the Fire is pretty frustrating. <br><br>You have to jump through too many hoops to get stuff transferred like emailing documents to your "kindle.com" adress instead of just accessing them from Amazon's own Cloud Drive. Trust me, when you have to email PDF's that range from 15MB-40MB, this is a very time-consuming process even when the same PDF's are sitting in my Amazon Cloud Drive. <br><br>Why Amazon couldn't have included a micro-USB is beyond me because had it been a mini-USB, I would have been set. I swear my mini-USB cables are multiplying like rabbits but now I have to go purchase a micro-USB cable.


    Another area I dislike the Kindle Fire is it's lack of customizable options. For instance, I do not want everything I do, read, watch on the bloody Carousel. I also want control over the lockscreen wallpaper.


    Outside of these complaints, is it worth it for $200? Absolutely! Is it an iPad-killer? Not a chance.
    jmiller1978
    • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

      @jmiller1978 <br>If you have the docs on Dropbox, you can access them after sideloading the Dropbox app<br> <a href="http://apocryph.org/2011/11/15/how-i-got-dropbox-installed-on-kindle-fire/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://apocryph.org/2011/11/15/how-i-got-dropbox-installed-on-kindle-fire/</a><br><br>Someone on the Dropbox forum mentioned that the included Quickoffice integrates with Dropbox as well. I'd forgotten about that. It is also integrated with Google Docs and several others.

      I feel your pain on cables. After the mini-USB cables taking over the house, I've now got microusb cables multiplying as well...
      admiraljkb
  • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

    Thanks!

    Out by Silicon Valley, buying a microUSB cable is not a problem. :) Now I wish there was a way to get BlueTooth running on the Fire.
    nightbirdsf
  • what should I buy if I want to read books?

    What should I buy if I want to read books and have no tablet. I dont have an I pad or kindel. Should I buy the older version of kindel or the new fire? With all the reviews I get lost
    moroziris
    • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

      @moroziris you should buy books.
      hmx
    • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

      @moroziris Well, I've just read and alternately listened to Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs on my iPhone, but I wouldn't recommend it as the best solution.

      Surely if all you want to do is read books, ignoring hmx's Luddite solution, all you need is the basic Kindle. Having said that, I also bought two copies of the hardback edition of Steve Jobs' biography, on the basis that a first edition is the best solid example of the writing craft, since we will never have a signed copy.

      I'm sure there are lots of people, maybe a few tens of thousands, possibly even hundreds of thousands who only want a book reader. For them the E-ink display is the perfect low energy approximation of real paper.

      It's when the maker of the Kindle claims the experience is far poorer on a glossy screen, then goes ahead and releases a device - with a glossy screen, you know you're dealing with a company, and a CEO who haven't even considered the user experience. The reason of course is that they haven't designed the Fire with the user experience in mind, but that isn't a viable excuse. In essence what Amazon has released is a shopping cart with your credit card glued to it, that pretends to do some other stuff, but does it so badly it sucks like a drain. When people work this out, they will justifiably feel cheated.

      So, frankly, the iPad opens up so many more avenues, it's a complete no-brainer. And the only real competitor for the current iPad would be a 7 inch iPad - which may or may not happen.

      On this point, I've actually changed my mind. I used to think that it would be plain crazy for Apple to cannibalize the market for its own product. And that was surely true when iPad was new and establishing itself not only as the market leader, but actually defining the market it created. The same can still be said of iPad 2. With no credible competitors, and the failure of what in any normal market would have been quite decent products, why do it?

      But now, as the market matures and evolves, maybe in the next 12-24 months Apple could release a 7 inch iPad and then define the sub 10 inch market as well. One thing though is absolutely certain, Kindle Fire hasn't a hope in hell of doing so. Indeed I believe it will sell in embarrassingly low numbers - though Bezos will of course never have the courage to release them.
      Graham Ellison
      • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

        @Graham Ellison

        early sales of the Fire have been so strong that Amazon bumped the order from 5 million units to 10 million. Half a billion people can afford an iObject, three billion more can afford a Fire or similar item. Three and a half billion can't afford either
        mswift@...
  • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

    Although I am only 64, I just don't get all the hoopla over these ereaders. I love to read and go through at least two books a week. Why should I buy these books when I can just visit my local library and read and return to my hearts content for free? The library is paid for with our tax dollars!
    thefox220
    • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

      @thefox220 The e-readers may not be for everyone but I use the Kindle app on my ASUS transformer and I only download free books. One of the big things I like is the sync. I could have it on my phone or tablet and get to the same page. Plus I never need a bookmark that could fall out.
      The biggest benefit from the library is I don't have to worry about returning them and I don't have to leave home to get them. However I still use the library also for some things, as you said we are paying for it.
      tovy.thomas@...
    • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

      @thefox220 I download ebooks from my local library for free. Same benefit of not having to remember to return them (they expire in 2 weeks) and i can read them anywhere on my iPhone and iPad. Works very well. Application my library uses is called Ovedrive and it has Kindle and Adobe PDF formats, your choice. BTW, library is the Salt Lake City Public Library.
      Wolflead6
    • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

      @thefox220 : For same reason you use your computer to type documents in Word. Sure you could use the old manual typewritter, but the computer makes typing documents easier and much less time consuming.

      Same with eBooks. How long does it take you to go to the library or book store to get your book and then you have to drop it off when you finish? I just bought my wife a Kindle Fire and so far she loves it. It operates through your wireless network .... oh, you don't have a wireless network? Forgetaboutit!
      ryork272
    • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

      @thefox220 Okay, there's a part of me that agrees with you, but I'm 53 and I haven't borrowed a book for 20 years. I do buy hardback and paperback books, but I've started buying more and more e-books and audio books. I went to sleep many nights earlier this month listening to Dylan Baker reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs on my iPhone, having downloaded both as soon as they appeared on iTunes. I also bought two copies of the hardback edition from Costco the next morning.

      I actually have six other books on the go at the moment, and that's where technology is an absolute life saver. There are also many times when I want to dip back into a book I've read, and reference a particular passage, detail or fact. But short of defacing the work or filling it with page inserts, I find it very difficult to do so. With an e-book, I can make as many notes as I like, and even copy/paste whole pages into other apps for reference.

      If your taste is fiction, mysteries, sci-fi, chick-lit or romance, I guess you won't find these functions useful, but when you're conducting business research, they're vital.

      I found it very interesting to note that one of Steve's ambitions before he died, was to reduce the same burden on students. I have no doubt that Apple will continue his work in this area. Libraries have tried to evolve. And I genuinely hope they survive, but they are on the decline for a very good reason. As Dylan told us, the old world is rapidly changing. Humans are evolving.
      Graham Ellison
  • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

    @thefox220 The e-readers may not be for everyone but I use the Kindle app on my ASUS transformer and I only download free books. One of the big things I like is the sync. I could have it on my phone or tablet and get to the same page. Plus I never need a bookmark that could fall out.
    The biggest benefit from the library is I don't have to worry about returning them and I don't have to leave home to get them. However I still use the library also for some things, as you said we are paying for it.
    tovy.thomas@...
  • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

    @thefox220 besides downloading free books, you can use the Overdrive app to check out ebooks in ePub format from the library as well.
    kwok@...
    • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

      @kwok@... Thanks. The ePub format would be my only consideration for an e-reader. DL free books, doubtful if I could find many that I would be interested in that I haven't already read. Does an e-reader automatically bookmark if it times out? I hate it when I fall asleep and drop my book without a bookmark in it.
      thefox220
      • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

        @thefox220
        Yes, it remembers where you left off. Even if your loan runs out and you later re-loan the book it remembers where you were last.
        I borrow several ebooks a month from the library. The selection is not very good but I have read books that I might not otherwise have read and enjoyed them. The selection is only going to get better.
        I am a heavy reader and I LOVE my kindle.
        Muskie Mike
  • Kindle works OK with Linux

    I am able to connect my wife's Kindle to our Ubuntu Linux machine with its usb cable and just copy pdf files over to it, and it does a decent job of rendering them. I haven't experimented with other file formats much, but the pdf's were a nice bonus since they were continuing education materials she could take with her.
    bbneo
  • RE: Amazon Kindle Fire: Much more open than I thought

    Future article idea: Compare the i-PAD to the Kindle Fire and also a representative Android tablet. I know the Kindle Fire is a great deal, but what about if money is no object?
    pkngresq34
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