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Kindle Fire: after (nearly) two weeks

November 27, 2011

I’m still enjoying the Kindle Fire after almost 2 weeks with it. I’ve still really only used it for reading; I don’t watch nearly as many videos (TV or movies) as I used to. And while I’ve set up Amazon’s Cloud Player and downloaded a few songs onto the Fire, I haven’t really used it to listen to music much yet either. But I have gone through three books on it, and both the reading experience and the easy access to Amazon’s Kindle store is quite nice.

However, the Fire does definitely still have some rough edges. Some are software-related, and could easily be fixed in the next software update. For example, notifications don’t seem to work reliably. I’ll see email notifications flash up at the top of the screen, but they won’t remain as persistent notifications to allow me to see the details of what messages the Fire actually downloaded. But it’s inconsistent; sometimes (although it’s the less common case) the notifications will actually remain.

As another example, the Fire apparently does not want to mute. If I tap on the sound icon in the settings it appears to deselect, which I would assume would mute the Fire. However, pulling open the settings again shows sound once again selected. It’s a rough edge but not a showstopper; you can still just turn the sound all the way down. Still, hopefully the next update will fix it.

Software updates won’t help, of course, with hardware rough edges. I haven’t had the lack of volume buttons bother me (possibly because I don’t listen to music or video much), but I frankly don’t understand why Amazon stuck the power button on the bottom of the device. It’s too easy to accidentally brush it with the grip I use while reading. I’ve taken to holding the Fire upside down; since the display reorients and the power button is then at the top and out of the way. I’m frankly not sure why Amazon didn’t make that orientation the default; arguably it would also make sense to have the speakers toward the user at the bottom rather than away from the user at the top (the speakers are on the opposite side from the power button). Again, not a huge deal. And it might actually be possible for a software update to also change the default display orientation, in which case the next software update could also address this issue.

So overall I’m still happy with the Kindle Fire, but I’m hoping that the next software update addresses some of the rough edges.

From → Hardware, Mobile, Software

3 Comments
  1. Ken permalink

    I’m with you on the power button. Puzzles me because they have the nice slider, which is all but impossible to trigger by mistake, on the other Kindles. I actually set it down in a bathroom stall (ahem) on edge, and the weight of the device was enough to push and sustain force on the button for 10-15 seconds, which reset the device… and when it came up it seemed to have decided the book I was currently reading (and which I read as recently as last night) on the Fire was, after all, residing properly in the cloud, and since I don’t have the Fire hooked up to the corp wireless, all I could do was admire the very nice-looking color icon for the book cover.

    I now have the nigh-complete collection of current Kindles: Kindle keyboard, Kindle $79 el cheapo version, Kindle Touch, and kindle fire. Just missing the DX. And all of them are in my briefcase right now.

    That future where we all have dozens of slates/readers scattered about our offices looks might close now.

    What’s interesting is that I notice I end up reading certain books or magazines on each one; and on the Kindle keyboard, personal documents that I want to read and annotate (with text notes); even within my Kindle armada there is a specialization of function.

    But I did also hit the “out of licenses” error on one of my e-books for the first time. I guess loading the same book onto my iPad, my Windows Phone, and Kindles #1 (dead, broken screen, not yet deregistered) plus Kindles #2, 3, 4, 5 is too much to ask.

    Ken

    • Jeff permalink

      Heh. When I got the Fire I cleaned up some of my older Kindle devices (primarily installations on PCs and a work tablet) to avoid just that issue.

      What do you use the DX for? Reading magazines? I still have a Kindle 1 in working condition that I use to read books when I want a longer battery lifetime or the more restful display, and once upon a time I used to read The Atlantic on it. It was ok for reading the text, but I did rather miss the layout (e.g., sidebars) information. I find a 7″ display too small to read magazines well; I like my iPad better for that than the Fire. But the DX seems like it might be a good size.

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