Amazon has launched it's 8.9" and 7" Kindle Fire HD which will make Apple sweat. I am a big fan of Amazon as an online retailer, but I have mixed feeling about their tablet initiative. We reached out to Muktware and Android Sutra readers to find out if they will buy the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. Here are the reasons our readers won't buy Amazon Kindle Fire HD.
It's Not Android
Yes, technically Amazon Kindle Fire HD runs unnamed version of Android which is heavily customized by Amazon, so you won't get the Google experience. You won't be running the Android as we know it.
No Chrome Browser or Google Products
Google has been working hard on improving Android experience, so much so that now iOS is trying to catch up with it. Google bring massive enhancements with every release which is evident in difference between ICS and Jelly Bean. There is no Chrome browser which you keep synced with your Mac or PC, there is no Google Now, Google Voice Search and many such features. You are stuck with a version of Android which can sell you the Amazon content.
No Google Play
You will not able to use Google Play Store as Amazon has blocked access to it. So, if you already own an Android device -- a phone or a tablet, you won't be able to access any of the apps or content that you bought from Google Play Store. You are locked out of one of the biggest app markets.
When you buy an Android tablet, you can upgrade to a different model from any company – Motorola, ASUS, Samsung, Sony or Lenovo. You will be able to use all your apps or content. But when you buy Amazon Tablet you are locked inside Amazon.com and won't be able to use it with the hardware of your choice nor will be able to use your Google app with this hardware. It's like closed Apple with low-spec hardware.
Who Uses Bing?
Amazon has made another big compromise with it's tablets by signing deal with Microsoft. Amazon is ditching Google and and will use Bing as the default search engine. Bing is not a product that the market needed (just like most of Microsoft’s products). Bing is the result of Microsoft's me too mentality. It’s results are pathetic (try searching ‘open source office suite and you won't see LibreOffice in the first page, at least I can't see it here). Why should I ditch the best search engine and use an inferior search engine for mediocre hardware?
Ads Ads & Ads
Even if you 'buy' this device, you will be displayed ads before you unlock the device. I am curious how Amazon will use my purchases to customize these ads. Why should I see ads on a $199 - $599 (and that's expensive) device? Amazon has confirmed to CNET that there will be no way to buy out of the Special Offers ads. We don't know if Amazon will start popping the ads during my usage?
Kindle Fire HD Is Not A Tablet
Kindle HD is not a full-fledge tablet. In my opinion it is a portal device to consumer Amazon services. Period. It can't and won't do anything more than that. Why would I pay $599 or $199 to access Amazon.com when I can get Nexus 7 which is a full fledged tablet?
Poor Man's iPad
Amazon has created a walled and closed garden, just like Apple, using open source technologies developed by Google. It's like a poor man's iPad - extremely locked yet low-end.
When we asked our readers this is what they had to say (your comments go here)
The Kindles are not "real android". It has a really weird skin to it and doesn't include the Play Store. I'm not keen on the ad supported concept. From seeing a guy demo one of them, at the event, it looks buggy. He would have to press stuff multiple times because it wasn't registering. He said sorry alot when it wasn't working right.
Ad supported crap and there's no Google app store front. That and I will never buy something I can't own (root, etc).
It’s way too expensive! For that price you can buy 3 Nexus 7 tablets, and at least they’re not locked down! That’s like buying a €600 GPS, which can only do one thing, while for €200 you can have a same-size same-or-better-quality tablet with built-in navigation which works just as well as the dedicated GPS devices.
The +Amazon.com Kindle Fire HD is too closed - like an iAnything.
They are just taking not giving. Sad.
Yeah. Amazon's Android app store is a lot less populated than Google's Play store. And I like my Google applications. I can't imagine a tablet without Gmail, Maps and Now.
Also, with a Nexus, I can be pretty confident that it will support new Android versions. I'm not sure what Amazon's plans for software upgrades is. I haven't heard any news about updates to the original Fire.
They gave it a monster bezel so that you could "hold it", but you don't need that much room to hold it, I know people who hold the original Kindle Fire fine. It seems like an excuse to put less work into making it.
Given the price and the features it offers, this tablet is a real loser when compared to the Nexus 7.
Two things a Customer would always look for:
- Features: Kindly Fire HD is a portable shopping catalogue, so no use for it as a real Tablet.
- Price: Not fairly priced for a portable Shopping Cart.
If I can't use Google Play with it, then I don't see the point of owning it at all.
I will buy Kindle Fire HD if and only if I was a pure Amazon user and wanted an expensive hardware to access those services. Expensive? Yes, why would I pay $200 just to access content sold by a site? I want a full-fledge tablet which allows me to do everything that I want to do. Any given day, I will use a pure Android device and not some locked down version of it.
Given the drawbacks and lockdown I won't pay more than $90 for any Amazon device. I will change my opinion and start recommending Kindle Fire the day Amazon opens up and allows users to purchase apps from Google Play Store.
My favorite device remain Google' Nexus 7 which is open, kept up to date with the latest edition of Android and offers the best of the breed services whether from Google or 3rd party developers.