So for those of you keep track (John as I suspect he is my only regular reader. Thanks for the support, Growly Bear.), a couple of months back I wrote about trying out the Kindle Fire and hoping it would improve the amount of blogging I did. As anyone looking through “recent” posts can see, it didn’t take. There are a couple of reason. Mainly, it is the same thing as before the Fire, time and will power. Also I refuse to let my blogging be another guilt in my life. I come to it when I want to, not because I feel a pressure to be posting. But there are things about the Kindle Fire that also did not make it ideal for blogging and have not made it a device I use regularly.
First, the carousel home page is very annoying. Scrolling through apps and web pages and books is not efficient and often they get going too fast, and I end up tapping one I didn’t mean to tap. Then on the app tab there are only two ways to organize the apps, recent use which I hate because I don’t like my apps to change, and alphabetically. I like arranging apps by frequency of use. The selection of apps in the app store is still not that numerous especially when it comes to free stuff or at least free lite or preview versions. The exception is toddler apps. I have found several free, such as a matching game, storybooks, and shape game, that my kids really like. There is no facebook app, only a shortcut to the mobile site, and the Twitter app is almost useless as every time I do anything, write a reply or check a link, it bounces me back to the timeline instead of the list or tweet I was in.
Now for the actual blogging. The WordPress app is actually very well done. In fact, I liked it better than the iPhone app. It had more features, and it was easier to navigate, however, typing on the Fire is a problem. It is too big for me to hold like a phone and type texting-style, but the keys are too small to be able to type as on a laptop keyboard or even an iPad. I still find the iPad on screen keyboard hard to use to type, but at least there are external keyboards available for purchase. That is not so with the Fire.
Another minor issue is the lack of being able to put movies we already own on the Fire. John tried to download a DVD and put it on the Kindle. While everything on the computer said the movie was on the Kindle, it was not accessable.
Now, there are really good things about the Fire. The parental controls are great. There is nothing like them on the iPhone and as far as I know, the iPad. (Ask Sunday, whose son purchased a thousand dollar app.) It keeps kids from making any kind of purchases. And since the most useful thing I have found about the Fire is as a tool for my kids, this is a good thing. The predictive text feature always gives you several options, but highlights the most obvious one, which I have found to be the correct one more often than not. It also learns your vocabulary very quickly and allows you to put words into the dictionary, manually.
And, of course, it is a great ebook reader. I still prefer the e-ink traditional Kindle screens for reading, but the book software on the Fire is just as user friendly and streamlined as any Kindle. If your library has an ebook catalog through OverDrive, I find the Fire to be the device that it is easiest to access library books on. You don’t need anything but the Fire while with other Kindles and all Nooks, you have to use the computer. And with the Nooks, you have to download Adobe’s Digital Editions and have an Abode account. IOS devices and Android devices also require an adobe account and the downloading of an app. None of that is necessary on the Fire.
So ultimately, the Fire is not meeting my tablet “needs”. (Yes, quotes, because who am I kidding about needs and gadgets?) As a Mac person at heart, I do still lust after an iPad. However, have you seen Windows 8 and the Surface? (I find this review very promising.) I have to admit, Microsoft has be intrigued because if it delivers, it will be the first tablet that could potential replace a laptop. And the latest rumors have it priced at $199.
So Microsoft, if you are looking for someone who will blog, tweet, facebook, Instragram the crap out of it, send me a free one. Heck, I’d tramp stamp SURFACE on my skin (at least in Henna.)