I found a blog post about the Kindle Fire by Dave Winer thanks to Ben Brook’s “The Brooks Report.”
Dave outlines why he likes the Kindle Fire, and you can read that article here.
Two quotes about the Kindle Fire really stuck out at me:
I wouldn’t yet recommend it to non-technical users, though I think it would be fine for kids to play games on, as long as there’s a mom or dad nearby to get things working again when needed.
The beauty of the iPad is that you can put the device into the hands of non-technical users. Sadly, education is going to put these devices into the hands of administrators and teachers first (in that order), and an amazing number of administrators and teachers are “non-technical” users. I know–I train them.
There are a lot of things the Fire doesn’t do today that I’m pretty sure it will do in the future. Lots of apps are missing. But I suspect they will show up.
This is dangerous thinking. Schools can get into a lot of trouble “buying into” a device with the hope that a future feature or compatibility is coming. This is different than Apple introducing a product a few months before a release, as when Apple announces something, it will become reality. An end user hoping for a feature–on a device that is built on an abandoned format of the OS (The Kindle Fire, using the language of the article, is built off a “fork” of Android 2.2. Android 4.0 is out in the wild now)–is really wishing on a star. I do imagine that the large sales of the Fire will result in more developers for that “fork,” but mainstream Android is going to keep marching on.
Everyone seems pretty happy with the 7 inch size (I, along with Ben Brooks, don’t want anything smaller, as my iPhone 4 [and eventual iPhone 5] meets that need), but I can’t help but imagine that if a smaller iPad is released, people will complain that the screen is too small and that the on-screen keyboard is too small.
For the record: the Kindle Fire is truly a “consumption” device. It was meant to be used for books, movies, music, and games. The iPad has turned into a both a consumption and creation device, as it has more features in its hardware and is large enough to facilitate the process of creation-based apps.
I don’t see education adopting this device, mainly because all the content would need to be supplied by Amazon (Kindles do not natively read ePub documents), and I’m not sure out educational institutions wish to be tied to Amazon so tightly, especially when the trend will be for institutions to make their own textbooks (Such as CK-12 or what has been happening in the Anoka-Hennepin School District of Minnesota).