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back to article Kindle Fire: An open letter to Jeff Bezos

Mr. Bezos, I love everything about Amazon. You have created a world where I can sit on my couch, read War and Peace, listen to Lady GaGa and order toilet paper - all from the same company and now, with the Kindle Fire, from a single device. I have raved for months on Twitter, Google+ and on my podcast, Nekkid Tech that in a few …

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Simple Solution

Simply a case of "You get what you pay for" The Fire is not an iPad killer... yet.

Frankly, I am not a fanboy, am often very critical of Apple, and I also hoped to buy several Fires as holiday gifts. However, I really did enjoy your creative way of expressing the same disappointment I felt at the dearth of "in-house" features in the Fire. (all of which can easy be accessed on the iPad).

Solution: Go back to the gift cards with a $250 Apple card to help they can buy the only device that they will not be frustrated with.

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Anonymous Coward

Whoosh!

"Solution: Go back to the gift cards with a $250 Apple card to help they can buy the only device that they will not be frustrated with."

The guy wants to combine walled-gardens and fails. The solution is not to dash to another walled-garden where the guy will immediately find that it too is not compatible with one of his walled-gardens of choice.

When all the spoilt brats are hoarding their toys, don't whine about not being able to combine the Action Man belonging to one of them with the Barbie belonging to another. Just go and hang out with some decently behaved kids instead.

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Coat

Rooted

The Fire has been rooted. Install base Android on it. Easy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the iFan Simpleton Solution

I respectfully suggest that you take your $250 Apple card, roll it into a cigar shape, then use it on yourself as a suppository*.

* - Means 'Work it up your dirtbox' (just in case you are not a real doctor and don't know what a suppository is).

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WTF?

You got more than what you paid for

I do not see much sense in whining about a missing native gmail app, when he gets tons of native media apps, single-touch access to tons of stuff at fantastic price. You still have a native email app that supports reading your gmail and ofcourse you can read gmail on your browser or install 3rd party email apps that look better (the other walled garden btw didn't have a gmail app until like very recently, and yet who cares). I would rather have a simple interface to my email and watch/read tons of content at the best price, than fuss over how good my email client looks like.

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WTF?

Anyone else noticed...

...how many people appear to have registered at elReg today JUST to post a comment on this article.

Strange...

Or is it just me?

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Indeed

drtom, Tetractys, anamik, sykottik and no doubt others all felt the need to register (and all within 30 minutes of each other!) to tell everyone that they either now won't be buying a kindle Fire presumably on the basis of this one article, or are returning the Kindle Fire they've already bought.

Do astroturfers really have such little respect for us now that they don't even put in the basic effort anymore?

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Gold badge

Great for the average consumer that isn't it?

It's like saying to a person who has just bought a car that they can access the ECU with a special cable and tweak the settings. Great for geeks but your average consumer struggles to replace their IE browser with something else.

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Trollface

Anything beginning "I am not a fanboy"...

is inevitably posted by a fanboy

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kb
FAIL

Astroturf is the new marketing

And as we can see Apple and many others have embraced it. i'd love to see what their budget is for such things, as it is pretty obvious that in at least the last year and a half (when i first started to really notice the blatant ones) that astroturf by corps is the order of the day. Here is just a list of a few I've seen doing it, Apple, MSFT, Oracle, EA, Dell, Intel, HP. But as you pointed out they have gotten lazy about it, creating an account for a single post followed by promptly tossing it and then making another next time. I don't know if we should be insulted or happy the PHB astroturfing is so easy to spot.

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Shouldn't he write an open letter to Larry Page?

The article sounds like the author was under some wrong impressions and clearly does not understand how licensing works and what platforms mean. Kindle fire is a fork of android, as such it is not Google's platform. It seems Amazon would have had to pay Google for the proprietary Google Applications, which are not available with the open-source distribution of android. This is Amazon's platform, Google apps have to be available through the Amazon Appstore, just like the kindle app is available through google's marketplace or apple's app store on android and ios. It is upto Google to make their proprietary apps available on Amazon's appstore. Having said all that KF lets you access gmail in the native email client. There are also 3rd party email apps on Amazon's appstore which provide a better interface and access to gmail and ofcourse you can browse gmail on the web browser. KF lets you share stuff on facebook because facebook has opened its API for 3rd party developers, Google+ I am not sure has done that. Google in general aren't every good at providing APIs to 3rd party developers. In short, he should write an open letter to Larry Page.

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Anonymous Coward

An open letter to El Reg

Please can you not use any articles from this Greg bloke again as it appears he brings along a lot of astroturfers and his article is generally inane.

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Thumb Up

Put Andoid ICS on it

I wouldn't worry for too long.

Take the nice cheap hardware, thanks Amazon. Then look out for the imminent release of Android ICS 4.0 from the ROM cooking boys. You can dump all the amazon spyPad software they have put on it. You'll have all your google apps and still have access to all the other stuff on your new hardware.

That's what I and many more start people will be doing too :)

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WTF?

"dump all the amazon spyPad software"

"You'll have all your google apps"

You dislike the thought of Amazon potentially spying on you but you'd welcome the master spies at Google to read your email, documents, know all your web browsing habits, your social circle and much more? What exactly makes Amazon scary but Google completely harmless?!

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Elementary.

"What exactly makes Amazon scary but Google completely harmless?!"

Google told us they were harmless, of course! Sheesh, young people these days.

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Coat

Quite right, Windrose!

If you can't trust mature, level-headed people like the Google founders, you might as well not trust journalists and politicians.

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Easy. We trust Google, we trust Amazon less. It doesn't need to be a logical or rational choice, that's just how consumers are. We never trust any of them completely, nor do we ever not trust them at all. If they have something we want, we'll trust them.

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Bronze badge

"Easy. We trust Google, we trust Amazon less. It doesn't need to be a logical or rational choice, that's just how consumers are. We never trust any of them completely, nor do we ever not trust them at all. If they have something we want, we'll trust them."

We trust Google more than Amazon because Amazon is selling things to us, while Google is selling us to other people. There is inherent strain in the relationship where one is trying to sell you something, because we must protect ourselves from "being swindled" by the big bad salesman.

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Silver badge

But doesn't that put the onus on Amazon?

Since, after all, they're trying to sell things TO US. Which means we hold an important power: the power to say NO. Google will always find buyers because a person is a person is a person to demographics firms. But for Amazon, they have to make sure they provide things that actual consumers want to buy, not just in the Fire but also in the stuff FOR the Fire. After all, if we look at something from Amazon and pass it up, Amazon doesn't get the commission, so they don't make money. See how that would motivate Amazon?

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It just puts the onus on Google!

"Google will always find buyers because a person is a person is a person to demographics firms"

Here is the thing, google's products are successful only as long as there is a need for them. With Fire's price point and the package on offer --- easy access to media and a brilliant deal, "google's icing products" are actually icing, that's it. Google will be forecd to make their apps available on Amazon's app store, just like they did on Apple's app store, otherwise Google will miss a very large segment of tablet buyers.

"After all, if we look at something from Amazon and pass it up, "

That is true only if you cannot do the math and reasoning, and are madly in love and are crazy for Apple and Google products. I suspect Google's offerings are only the icing on the cake, the real things win!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Bravo

While I certainly have an opinion regarding the subject matter, this post is primarily about the quality of the article. The author's numerous arguments are made with such clarity and conviction. It's refreshing to read such a well written piece. I look forward to your next.

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Baffled

It baffles me what sort of moron could possibly object to your post and have down-voted it.

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Re: Baffled

Good grief Chris. I know it is early on a Monday but wake up man. He didn't mention WHAT article or WHICH author. This isn't a post. It is a BOT getting in a 1st "relevent" post to try and get around the spam detectors.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Re: Baffled

It won't be a bot - but it might be a real live spammer.

We will keep an eye out.

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I believe the downvotes are for the astroturfing dear chap. At least, mine is.

Why on earth would you register an account just to emit that bland nothing?

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Anonymous Coward

I assumed it was his Mum.

I found the article in the style of a letter pretty irritating myself.

But I do have some fine trainers for sale.

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Licensing issues?

Android itself is open source, but Google's apps (Gmail, Maps, Market) are not, and manufacturers are not allowed to distribute them without Google's consent.

I'd be surprised if Google was willing to license their proprietary apps (like Gmail) to a competitor like Amazon without requiring the Market app to be preloaded as well. Amazon on the other hand is selling the Kindle Fire more or less at cost and needs to make money by selling content, so preloading Google's Market app on the device is probably the last thing they want to do.

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It's Google Not Amazon

Exactly right, the lack of Google apps on unlicensed Android implementations like the Fire is a Google restriction not an Amazon one (though I'm sure in this case Amazon are quite happy to not be allowed to install them).

Android itself is 'free' and open source but the Google store and other Google apps are not.

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Putting out the Fire

I'm also returning my new Fire after experiencing the same letdown as Greg. But I'll go a step further. It's bad enough that I bought the Fire thinking I'd have access to all my Google apps only to find I don't, but with normal fast page switching the Fire locks up, requiring rebooting. It will scramble Web pages with overlays of thumbnails of your most recent sites tiled across the screen like a chessboard. There's no way out of this fault other than rebooting again. I'm not sure how the Fire was beta tested (or whether the team figured for US$200 a few kinks would be OK), but this isn't an iPad killer or even a good smartphone supplement. I watched a movie last night, and somehow the image became inverted. Again, the only way to right it was to shut down the device, restart everything and reload the movie. US$200 is certainly less than $800, but it's still too much to pay for a broken toy with core features missing.

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Inverted

If 'inverted' means upside down not 'left to right and upside down' I suggest an easier solution would have been to turn the device top to tail!

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never smoked astroturf...

That's nice. I'm sure you're telling the truth too, as one of only 6 or 7 people who signed up specifically to say you're taking your fire back, cos it's not as good as your ipad. I'm sure you're not astroturfing. Honestly.

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I don't know anything about amazon uk but amazon us says

"Kindle Return Policies

You can return any Kindle you purchased directly from Amazon.com for a full refund within 30 days of the day you received it as long as it is in new condition and in accordance with our return policy."

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Thumb Down

Good grief, another astroturfer signing up specifically to talk about returning the fire. Someone at Apple must be very scared.

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Or possibly google.

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Or, possibly, Samsung.

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GMAIL

Your article says that gmail is not available on the fire, but amazon's website states that you can access gmail with the fire. When I get my fire, hopefully the post will arrive today, I will make sure that I can get gmail using the device. If not, then amazon is guilty of false advertising and I'll be returning mine as well...thanks for the warning...hope you are wrong and I will be able to check my gmail.

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You can access gmail via the included email app, that's what I did and it works beautifully.

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I don't believe the problem is actually *reading* your gmail. I suspect you could do that by using the web interface. The author wants to load the gmail app.

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thanks for clarifying

I do not have a fancy cell phone and have not used an "app" unless you count what came on my gateway laptop so my lack of understanding led to a post that had the author not assumed his readers know what one of those app things is and defined it I would have fared better. Thanks for pointing out the difference.

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Your "gateway" laptop

Is that the laptop you used even though the government warned you not to which turned out to be a gateway device? Did the dealer wait till you were hooked on the laptops and then sell you tablets too?

Oh, sorry, I remember, there used to be a computer maker called Gateway...

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Bronze badge
Facepalm

"I do not have a fancy cell phone and have not used an "app" unless you count what came on my gateway laptop so my lack of understanding led to a post that had the author not assumed his readers know what one of those app things is and defined it I would have fared better. Thanks for pointing out the difference."

Why exactly are you reading a tech site if you haven't bought a piece of kit in a decade? Go to lolCNN or MSNBCroflcopter for your "must haves of the holiday season" garbage articles.

Or buy a Mac. You're pretty much their target audience.

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Facepalm

What did you expect?

No sympathy here...

How was this device marketed? As a kindle or a full blown android tablet like the Xoom?

That's right, a Kindle. If you want the full functionality that comes with a full tablet, then you buy one of those.

I am waiting for my Kindle Fire to arrive, and I'm looking forwards to a device I can use for the things a Kindle is meant for...

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FAIL

What part of this being an unofficial android fork did you not understand?

That you thought it would run the android google app suite is an indication of how clueless you are, not anything else.

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Mr. Knieriemen, I appreciate your speaking to Mr. Bezos civilly, as though he were an honourable man. But the sad reality is that he did indeed want to create this user experience. Some people in the world really have decided to give themselves over to evil for a little more money, and Mr. Bezos is one of them.

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I thought it was Google

who decided which devices could run Google apps. Android maybe open source (or not depending on your outlook, but that's another story) but Google apps aren't. I can appreciate your frustration at not having these apps on your Fire, but I think you should be writing to Google, not Amazon.

source - http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2009/09/note-on-google-apps-for-android.html

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Correct

That's correct. And it's actually trivial to get the majority of Google Apps installed. But, that doesn't make as big of a story, so...

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Greg,

I don't think its correct to blame Amazon here given their strategy with the Kindle Fire.

Foremost, the lack of Google services is not because Amazon is actively blocking them, its because the official Google Android apps (GMail, GTalk, Android Market, etc.) only get put on official Android devices (with the approval of Google). The Kindle Fire is not that device because Amazon forked Android.

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Simple solution

Duh...

Ever hear of "get what you pay for/'?

Someone has to say it,,,

Get an iPad.

I really don't mean to be snarky, and I am quite critical of Apple in many way. i too was hoping the Fire would be a more affordable solution for exactly the same reason - holiday gift giving. Fact is, that right now, the Fire will only lead to more frustration than appreciation on the part of my donees. i really did enjoy your very creatively written article. Best bet is go back to the gift card for this year.. I'm sure a $250 Apple gift card toward the purchase of the only thing that exists that does it all will be greatly appreciated.

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Anonymous Coward

Non-solution

"I'm sure a $250 Apple gift card"

Don't tell us: if you mention this damned gift card 250 times in Internet forums, Apple will give you one for real. Thanks for the repeat spamming, apparent astroturfer!

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