With the iPad Mini just out (as of writing), and Nexus 7 about to release a higher memory version in form of 32GB (or so the rumours suggest, once again as of writing), how does the Kindle Fire HD cope? In this blog entry, I will be covering the various stand out features that not only make the Kindle Fire HD stand out among the tablet wars, but may even make it better than the other two (and the many other tablet offerings out there).
It is well known that the Kindle Fire HD has Android 4.0 ICS running at its core. However, Amazon have provided a skin that seems to bury Android deep within itself. The ‘Home’ screen is a carousel that offers you all the books and other media on your device. This means that you can slide across all your books, media, apps and such like. While this is a different approach to the conventional icon style interface and takes a little getting used to, it makes it a lot easier to access things, which is probably what Amazon were looking for when they were designing it.
This means that the UI takes away most of the options that may complicate your tablet experience, without taking away any of the offerings of Kindle, which means the books, the media and the apps.
No access to Google Play Store
Before I carry on, one thing needs to be made very clear. The Kindle Fire HD does not allow you access to the Google Play Store, which means not all Android apps can be accessible through the tablet. Amazon has developed an App store of its own, and while that offers a lot of the major Android apps, it still lacks a big number of them. This does mean that there are quite a few ‘obvious’ apps that are not accessible from the tablet.
Amazon Prime Store
This is what sets the Kindle Fire HD apart. For a fee of £49/year Amazon offers membership of the Amazon Prime service. While this means that the users get better delivery options when they buy from Amazon, the media on offer is a bigger plus. It allows the users (in US, and very soon in UK) unlimited access to the Amazon Lending Library, which means that a large number of Kindle titles (not all though) are available for free to the user. Another major plus is that a lot of films as well as TV Series are also available free to the user, though they are only available free over the internet and will need to be paid for if downloaded.
Yes. This has it. Though probably if you care, you can find a way of making Flash work on your own tablet. However, for your average Joe, this means you can access websites with Flash on them such as the iPlayer website as well as many other video based services.
Another feature packed into the Kindle means that it can read aloud (or through the headphones ) any book you are reading.
The screen is one of the main features Amazon have talked about since releasing this tablet. The screen is a new technology that allows a glare free experience. While this is something I have not tried, if it works as promised, it will probably add a lot to the Kindle Fire HD fan base. The reason being that a lot of people complain that the main reason they do not read on their phones or tablets is the screen glare. Once that problem is solved, a tablet would become your natural reading device. This might even mean that Amazon could go into the mainstream tablet market with their glare free screen.
Parental Lock/Family use
This is probably the only tablet device out there that is designed with the full family in mind. Parents can set a password protected parental lock. It also focuses around offering kids books as well as TV shows.
The Kindle Fire HD offers one of the best speakers on offer in the tablet world. On the back are Dual Driver Stereo speakers that offer Dolby Audio.
Call this a pro or con, but the Kindle Fire HD offers a constant stream of advertising and offers. This is supposed to be allow the user to get the best offers, but also justifies how Amazon keep the Kindle Fire HD at such a competitive price.
While strange as this seems, this is the only tablet among this, Nexus 7 and iPad Mini to offer HDMI out.
Like many other devices, one of the coolest features about the Kindle Fire HD tablet is the accessories available. While there is a whole collection of items available out there, the cases for it really stand out. A great collection of them can be found at Mobile Fun (www.mobilefun.co.uk), at the following link:
Hopefully this article covers most of the features that differentiate the Kindle Fire HD from the regular mainstream tablets such as the Nexus 7 or the iPad Mini. The exuberating choice on offer these days is confusing enough. My verdict is that a Kindle Fire HD is an application based product. If the purpose of your tablet is to have a family friendly device that offers plenty of media and reading opportunities, this is your device.