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You might think it odd for a UK-based publication to review a product only available in the US, but such is Amazon's global reach that it's only a matter of time before the Kindle Fire is officially released over here. Amazon Kindle Fire e-book tablet Less a tablet more an Amazon content reader In the meantime, if you have a …

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Paris Hilton

Something missing I feel...

What is the Kindle like as an e-book reader? One photo comment that the text is clear and smooth doesn't really add anything - Does it have all the usual limitations of being an LCD rather than e-ink screen? i.e. after prolonged reading are you eyes strained? is the glare rediculous? or have amazon made some software alterations to minimize this?

Given that the only thing you could put on the device without a PC were books I'm surprised you didn't mention much about them.

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"is the glare rediculous? "

And does the Silk browser have a spellchecker?

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The biggest issue?

Lack of Google apps. You want Google Docs, Gmail, Google+, Google Voice or even the Android Market then you will be out of luck. You can't load any of these onto the device out of the box. Ok so it is Android based, and they can be hacked on pretty easily, but that isn't really the point is it? How can Amazon release an Android device and not let you load on Google apps? It just seems really short sighted.

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Missing the point

It is not an 'Android' device. The OS is a fork of the Android source. Amazon do not claim that it is Android (as far as I'm aware at least.) It's 'Amazon Fire OS'.

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Because you muppet

Its NOT an Android device. It's a Forked Version of Android you might as well call it an Amadroid device. I wouldn't be surprised if it diverges further.

Anyone making assumptions about what this can and should run should get a reality check until the modders get done with it.

You don't expect to get the Android market on an iPad - don't expect it on the Fire.

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Anonymous Coward

@Richard Wharram and @Gordon 10

Nope, the reason is that Amazon want you to use its Android marketplace. This has been discussed quite a bit.

The Fire will run apps in the standard Android APK format (including some Google ones) - again, this has been discussed a fair bit - and to install them, you can sideload apps from an Android phone running Gingerbread… no hacking or rooting needed. See http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2396276,00.asp

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Flame

Android

"You don't expect to get the Android market on an iPad - don't expect it on the Fire."

No, but there again, you would not see a phrase like this on the Apple site on the page selling the iPad....

"Additional email apps are available in our Amazon Appstore for Android. "

This IS on Amazons page. They ARE absolutely playing on the fact that is does run Android apps. As such, the other poster make a perfectly valid point. They should not mentions Android at all, if they do want users to perceive this as an Android capable device. If they mentions Android they it is only fair to compare it's support of android apps to other Android devices.

He is not a Muppet.. ok Gonza? :)

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Sounds too limited

But might be nice as a subsidised Cyanogen tablet.

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KJB

Buy it, root it, use it.

Cant wait to get my hands on one of these when they're available in the UK.

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Need to do more than root it.

You need a new ROM.

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FAIL

What's all this about?

"... none of the films I dropped in were detected by the tablet's Video section. Amazon, like Apple, wants you to get your content from the official channel."

Apple's devices play ripped movies just fine, thank you very much.

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That doesn't mean Apple doesn't *want* you to get get your content from the official channel, just that they have failed to stop you.

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Anonymous Coward

failed to stop you...

... by providing an import function that lets you add your own stuff to your itunes library?

Admittedly, they could make it easier, the ability to just put in a dvd and 'transfer' it to an i-device would be lapped up by the masses.

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Anonymous Coward

75%

for a neutered Android tablet intentionally broken to prevent users installing apps unless Amazon say it doesn't affect their bottom line? That's pretty laughable, infact even more of a joke that the idiots that buy locked in Kindles.

Better buy a Kobo Vox instead, WHSmiths are selling them now. Better still if you are buying it to read books, avoid both and buy an e-ink reader like the Sony or the Kobo.

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Anonymous Coward

Kindle does a very good job of not being a locked in device actually. You can read Kindle books on a Kindle, an iPad an iPhone, an Android phone an Android Tablet a PC a Mac, basically any device that you may have can connect to your kindle account and allow you to read the books. What more could you reasonably want?

Only idiot around here is you.

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Anonymous Coward

How about

choosing where you buy your content from.

Aren't you even remotely concerned that the ONLY source of content is Amazon, and they have you by the balls just like Apple do with their users?

Only an idiot would buy a locked down device with limited content.

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FAIL

Locked down?

Eh? Have you actually *used* a Kindle? I've got a couple of freebie books from Amazon's store, but for the most part I use it as a more comfortable way to read long PDFs and I regularly download books for it from various sites with no problems (in fact, the cthulhuchick version of Lovecraft's complete works from her site is one of the best formatted kindle books I've seen). Importing them is just a matter of emailing to the device. If only more devices were this 'locked down'...

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Not a problem

You obtain books from elsewhere and provided they aren't DRM restricted, you simply connect the kindle to your computer as a USB drive and copy them over to the documents folder.

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FAIL

@AC 16:10

You really should think before you post. You can submit a document to amazon and they will convert it and send it straight to your kindle for you. No matter what format. Or if you want to do it yourself you can use e-calibre and upload your content straight to it. Not exactly locked down like an Crapple is it?

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Anonymous Coward

Errm, you don't get it...

Seeing as all e-book PAY content is DRM protected, you can't send a DRM protected EPUB to amazon and they will break the DRM and convert it will they?

All the free stuff works on everything, Kindle, or EPUB based (Kobo, Nook, Sony Reader, everything else)

However only the EPUB readers work with lending libraries, only the EPUB readers allow you to choose where you buy your content from. Only the EPUB readers have 3m titles to buy.. (Kindle is only 750k)

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Facepalm

A few points from this article...

The screen is no "retina" display, but text is clear and smooth

Neither is the iPad, so why comment on it not being a retina display? No, it's not as good of a screen as the iPhone or even the Google Nexus, but neither are any of the tablets...

An e-book reader at heart?

Erm, no, it's a tablet - no e-book reader has a battery life less than a week, let alone a month (like the "proper Kindles"

Like most Android/iOS devices, it CAN be an e-book reader, but it's not its main function, at heart it's a (limited app list) tablet, meaning it is meant for a little bit of browsing, a little bit of media consumption, a little bit of reading (short term), and a little bit of messing about with apps - I'd REALLY like a review like this to be done on the iPad, and compare it to REAL e-book readers... just because this is branded "Kindle" doesn't mean it does exactly the same as other Kindles, it's just a brand name!

none of the films I dropped in were detected by the tablet's Video section

Maybe if you drop them into the correct folder, it might help - did you look for the right folder or just drop them in the root? At heart Android plays videos from a "gallery related" folder, and if you put anything outside of that then it'll be ignored (ICS reads from "Movies" too), also, did you put them in MP4 format? Complaining about user error on putting videos on a device is hardly a real complaint!

I get sick of people comparing devices with things that they're not meant to be compared to, like a review I read of the ASUS Transformer to laptops, when it's a slightly more powerful tablet that can have a keyboard...

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Anonymous Coward

@Phil.A

"The screen is no "retina" display, but text is clear and smooth

Neither is the iPad, so why comment on it not being a retina display?"

Beause some muppets might think it does if it's mentioned that the pixel density is greater than that of the iPads?

In any case, I can't see anything wrong with saying it's not as good as X, but still very good at doing Y? Reading the review, it sounds like reading text is more pleasant and easy on the Fire than the iPad, but it lacks the pixel density of of the iPhone - both are devices many are familar with, so provide a good point of reference.

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"Erm, no, it's a tablet - no e-book reader has a battery life less than a week, let alone a month (like the "proper Kindles")"

Yeah, it's just a tablet.

Still, all this "a month of battery life" is really getting on my nerves. Amazon speaks of one month of battery life (for the "real" Kindle) if you use it half an hour each day. That's 30 days with 1/2h each which makes 15 hours of battery life. With WiFi on, it's three weeks. Which makes 10.5 hours. That's not all that much more than an iPad or a Kindle Fire.

Major difference is that e-ink readers have a very low standby power drain (since they're basically off then, they have nothing to do after all) and of course they have much smaller batteries to begin with, which makes them lighter. But the actual battery life when you actually use them is not so much better, really. If you use an iPad only for thirty minutes a day, you won't have to charge it for weeks.

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Anonymous Coward

@uhuznaa: 'Proper kindle' battery life

I can tell you don't own a kindle. I (and the other people I know with Kindles) only charge the kindle about once a month. And this is with typical usage of someone who likes to read. ie you may read for 2-3 hours one day, none the next day, etc, etc. WiFi is only ever used to download a book, for the rest of the time it's off (no-one seriously uses the kindle for browsing) so even if you're buying 2 books a week that's still only about 4 minutes per month of wifi.

To try and suggest that a 'proper' kindle has battery life in the same magnitude as something like an iPad or Kindle fire is so very, very wrong. So, i return to my original point, you obviously don't own a kindle so stop commenting on things you know nothing about.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: e-ink device battery life

You're assumptions about e-ink vs LCD screen device battery lives are way off the mark. In one test the battery of a Kindle 3 e-ink reader lasted for 56 hours turning a page each minute, with wifi off. The Nook did even better at 150 hours, under the same conditions. These values simply blow any LCD tablet out the water. Of course this is logical when you think about, since e-ink screens only consume power when they change, whereas an LCD tablet has to continuously illuminate the screen with a power hungry backlight.

http://m.engadget.com/default/article.do?artUrl=http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/25/barnes-and-noble-clarifies-battery-life-on-new-nook-calls-out-kin/&category=classic&postPage=1

PS The month of battery life quoted by Amazon assumed a usage of 1 hour per day, not 30 minutes. They in fact upped the figure to 2 months assuming 30 minutes usage after a tussle with the makers of the Nook, who were using this testing regime.

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It is half an hour of turning pages. when you earn just reading a page, an e-ink screen, unlike an LCD screen, doesn't Use any power.

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No card slot = No go

My Nook Color works quite nicely on Cyanogen, I'm sure the Tablet will do even better once a stable release comes out, which probably won't be too long.

Re. 'rediculous' glare - that's what the brightness control was invented for!

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Anonymous Coward

who cares

what this Amazon tablet can and not can do? What matters, for most Reg-readers, is how good the hardware is, and that it can be modded to provide some tablet functionality.

Did I just say "tablet functionality"?! Well, "usability" then.

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Anonymous Coward

hmmmm

So how is this better than my 1 year old Galaxy Tab? When it hits UK shores it won't be $200, it will be around £200, just you watch!

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Amazon aren't dummies when it comes to marketing.

They are interested in getting their British customers to buy *content* just the same as their American customers. They want the Fire to have the same impact in the UK as in the States? Then they will market it in the UK at £150 inc VAT. I would be astonished if they tried to sell it in the UK at £200 - they would risk (to some extent) shooting themselves in the foot.

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Anonymous Coward

How is this better

Well it's not a crappy overpriced Galaxy Tab, thats how it's better.

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I'll wait for the kindle two

I like the price and I like the fact that it's made by Amazon.

But these things bother me:

No microphone support and no camera - which means no Skype voice/video calls.

No hardware volume buttons - so quickly adjusting the volume when watching a video is a no-go

Seems a bit sluggish - From what I've seen on youtube, it seems a bit sluggish compared to the ipad

If they made things a bit smoother, improved the accuracy of clicks and found a way to make a microphone work (even if it's only via a headset) so I can at least do Skype calls then I'd get it in a heart beat.

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Anonymous Coward

Side-loaded Video works fine on the Fire

You mention that you can't side-load video - but you can. That will show up not in the VIDEO section, but in the GALLERY section. And plays fine. I have loaded several such movies on my Fire.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Side-loaded Video works fine on the Fire

Erm, that's exactly what it says in the review...

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Question

Did you try setting up an Amazon.com account and then purchasing media?

I've had one for years and it works for buying Kindle books, the only problem being that you need to switch accounts between UK and US in order to use the content.

(That is unless you remove the DRM first, naturally.)

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Happy

Can we get a kobo v Fire Tablet review now?

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Kindle Fire vs iPad. Yawn.

I agree with Stuart... can we get a review of the Kobo Vox and compare that with a Kindle Fire please? It sounds like a much more reasonable comparison than with the ipad.

I'm tired of reviews and open letters etc from morons so upset that the Fire isn't a Google App friendly device that they think it's worthless. But if that is so important then surely you'd be happier with the Vox. Oh, and it's available in the UK today, unlike the Fire.

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JDX
Gold badge

iPlayer

For a $200 tablet, I don't really care about loading my existing videos. What I would use such a cheap tablet for (I don't really want Amazon video and I have a proper Kindle for e-books) is web-browsing and watching TV... so what's the situation with iPlayer, 4OD, etc? Will they just work through the web-browser, or require special apps?

What IS this Silk browser anyway? Webkit?

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Pint

An alternative: RIM PlayBook

The 16GB version of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook is on sale for $200 [same price, if you're lucky enough to find one] and it is very similar to the Kindle Fire, but better in every possible way.

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@Tony Smith

Sorry to make demands on you Tony, but do you know if the Kindle Fire works with HTML5 web apps, such as the Financial Times app? In theory it should, as it's (apparently) WebKit-based, but as for the offline storage or adding sites as icons to home screens, I just can't find out anywhere! Thanks :)

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One question, does it fit in a jacket pocket?

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As a quick rule of thumb...

Take a standard CD case and see if it'll go in the pocket. For most of my inside jacket pockets the answer is 'yes'.

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Devil

Rubberised back

Hope the rubberised back doesn't peel off like my Psion Series 5, or degenerate into sticky black gloop like the Amstrad Penpad.

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One thing overlooked

>>It's hard to resist the impulse to snap up a tablet for only $199 (£128), and Amazon knows it.

Totally agree with that statement - who could refuse $200 for a small tablet?

However, what has made the iPad the huge seller is it's stickiness. We still use our 4-5 hours a day and we got ours the day it was launched. And we're not alone.

But if the Fire isn't sticky in the same way, eg people using it, then it's loss leader thing will become a huge millstone around Amazon's neck. And Amazon's financials aren't exactly a thing of beauty either.

Apple have also stated that iTunes and App Store are not core to it's business. They are the value added bit that sells hardware, whereas Amazon is betting the bank on people using the Fire to make "MORE" purchases than they would. Here is the key word (I capitalised it) - MORE.

Amazons business plan fails miserably if the Fire cannot generate more sales than the standalone Kindle does. A user could simply buy the $79 Kindle and buy the same ebooks that they get with the Fire. A user could simply buy an iPad and download Kindle. Both of these scenarios make more money for Amazon than a purchase of the Kindle will.

All in all, it's a very murky business plan that has no obvious "win" surrounding it.

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JDX
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@b166er

Why don't you measure your pockets and get back to us on that?

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Unhappy

mines in the post from use ebayer

came out at 140 quid so still a good deal.

I didn't expect to be able to download much from amazon being in UK - but to find I can't get free apps either is a bugger... even side loading apps seems to require installing a file manager app first (from the amazon store)...

anyone got any idea how I can side load apps on it if I have no access to amazon store ??

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FAIL

You forgot the UK Rip-Off Tax

A Normal kindle in US is $79, in UK its 89 quid by that logic this will be be around 230 quid

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JDX
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It's not rip-off tax.

Try buying UK brand in US and let us know if it costs the same amount.

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@BozNZ

Yes, but the $79 US Kindle is advert sponsored, whilst the £89 UK version doesn't have adverts.

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Lack of Location

Having played around with one for a few hours, the thing that disappoints me is that it totally lacks geolocation. The API has been removed from the default browser, and it hampers third party (Opera Mobile) access to the geolocation info.

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