Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kindle Fire vs Nook Tablet

The wifey just mentioned possibly wanting a Kindle Fire for Xmas, so I thought I'd do some research on the device and might as well post it here to help others that might be contemplating the device as well.  My initial impression, before it came out, was that it's a cool looking, larger, somewhat more limited version of an Android phone.  I say that because of some initial reviews I read prior to the device coming out.  I'm very interested to see if that impression changes by the time I'm done here.  Keep in mind I'm a techie, so I'll be more critical than the general public probably would and this device is probably more marketed towards the general public than me.  I'll try to provide info from both angles. 

First off, the specs.  The main specs are that it is a dual core 1GHz processor, has 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a 1024x600 7 inch color display and 8 hours of battery life for $199.  It's basically the same CPU as the Droid Bionic and Razr.  That is plenty of horsepower for most.    There is a good article that compares the Kindle Fire hardware to the Nook Tablet on this site.  Neither of the devices have front or rear cameras.  From that article I also found out that the Kindle Fire does not have an SD card slot, so you are limited to the 8GB of internal storage.  However, Amazon will provide 'free cloud storage for all of your Amazon content'.  But to me that means that anything you pay for like books/video/music through the Amazon store will be stored for free, not that you can put all sorts of personal content on there for free.  Amazon does provide 5GB of free cloud storage for free to anyone that wants it though, so you could potentially supplement your 8GB of internal storage with that service.

A quick comparison between the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet shows that for the price the Kindle Fire is decent and feature wise is pretty similar to the Nook Tablet, with the main exception being the SD slot being available on the Nook Tablet for more local storage and the Nook Tablet has a microphone as well.  The nook color is also $50 more at $249.

From the techie perspective, the Nook Tablet would be more appealing for the SD card slot in that there are lots of customized ways to hack the Nook Tablet into a full fledged Android tablet. However, that would void your warranty. 

For the general public, the Kindle Fire has the advantage of the Amazon App Store, over the Nook Tablet's Barnes and Noble app store. 

From the techie perspective, IF I were to want a 7 inch tablet, rather than a full fledged 10 inch tablet, I would go with the Nook Tablet with the ability to hack it and turn it into a full Android tablet.

For the general public however, if you were OK with spending $79 a year for the Amazon Prime service, I think the Kindle Fire would be the way to go.  Then you would have access to a bunch of content and it should be a relatively seamless experience.  That is how Amazon envisions the device, more as a conduit to access all of the different services that they provide online, rather than a standalone/offline tablet.  As an Amazon Prime member you would also get free 2 day shipping on any items you purchase through that are also fulfilled through Amazon directly.

Based on that though, if you do subscribe to Amazon Prime and do mostly streaming or storing of your data on the cloud, you will want to be sure that you have a good WiFi connection to access that data most of the time.

Amazon is keeping the price low and potentially even losing $ on the device, to get you to spend $ on subscription based services in order to generate recurring monthly revenue from the Kindle Fire customers.  They want you to be a lifelong customer, paying a fee every month/year to bring in more money over the long term.  A good strategy for a for-profit company and for anyone that owns stock in the company.

However to me, I prefer to buy a device like a laptop or tablet and have full control over what I put on the device, how I get the content and where I get it from.  So the Fire/Nook would not be devices straight out of the box that I would be interested in.  At this price level, I would be more interested in a bargain priced, full 10 inch tablet that is not locked down to a particular company such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  Perhaps there will be black Friday/cyber Monday tablet deals, but I'm thinking the higher likelihood will be deals about a month after Xmas.

I personally love shopping at Amazon and I'd say 80% or more of the time, Amazon is where I go to buy just about everything these days, I just don't want to have to pay monthly/yearly fees for content over what I already pay for services like DirecTV/DVR.  My DVR is just about full as it is, so right now I'm not interested in adding any more content, especially for an additional fee.   

I think this would be a great device for anyone that does not have a smart phone/data plan, that does not want to pay the regular $30 data fee per month for the phone, but wouldn't mind spending $79 a year for content instead.  For that person it would be a great way to experience just about everything a smart phone has to offer, at a reduced rate, as long as hey have a decent WiFi connection most of the time.

UPDATE 11:12am 11/16/2011  I found out that there is already a way to side load apps on the Kindle Fire, which means to manually install an Android App, so the hacking has already begun.  That changes my mind a little, in that the tablet would be more useful if you're not necessarily locked down to using everything from Amazon, but I still think it's more of larger version of a phone without the camera(s)/GPS.  

Any interest in a 7 inch tablet for $199 or $249?  I am interested to hear what everyone thinks, especially non-techie types.


Jen said...

I'd rather buy an ipad type device for a bit more money so I could surf internet, check email and read books and such on a bigger screen.

Mock family said...

regular kindle is just fine by me to read, i pad is nice to read on, too.

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