Amazon Fire gets mixed reviews but developers keen

By Liam Tung on Nov 15, 2011 7:55 AM
Filed under Hardware

Sins forgiven by price.

Amazon's customised Android tablet Kindle Fire launched to mixed reviews on Monday in the US, but developers rank it ahead of Samsung's Galaxy Tab, according to one survey. 

The Kindle Fire was a "chunky-thick" shiny black tablet and "you feel the $US200 ($A195) price tag with every swipe of your finger", the New York Times' David Pogue wrote

Pogue complained that screen taps sometimes don't register, web pages were slow to download and that it lacked a good page layout. 

Wired's in-depth review notes that, "For every sin it commits as a reading device, the Fire atones with a good deed in video playback." However, many of its winning video content features are limited to the US market.  

Others were more impressed, with Gizmodo, like the business press before it, crowning it "serious competition" to the iPad.

In a browser face-off between the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire, Amazon's device performed slightly slower than the Galaxy and noticeably slower than the iPad, while also suffering from a jerky zoom, but the $199 price tag may well be enough to compensate for its shortcomings. 

Developers very keen on Kindle Fire

Just as important in the app ecosystem battle between tablet makers, a survey of over 2,000 developers has found huge excitement over the potential for Amazon's Kindle Fire, driven primarily by its price.   

In North America the Kindle Fire edged out Samsung's Galaxy Tab by a whisker in a comparison between 15 Android tablets, and with 49 percent of developers "very interested" in the new tablet, it was only four points less than interest in the iPad prior to its 2010 launch, according to a joint survey by Appcelerator and research firm IDC released Monday

Worldwide, Samsung's Galaxy Tab was ahead of the Fire though in terms of developer interest in the Android-only tablet stakes.    

Developers cited price as the key reason for interest in the Kindle Fire, but also Amazon's depth of content, its Appstore, e-commerce integration and its target demographic. 

Top concerns were its lack of camera and geo-location, as well as fragmentation.

Developers were, however, still the most keen on the iPad and iPhone, which respectively garnered 91 percent and 88 percent of the "very interested" responses in building apps for these two devices.

Research in Motion's PlayBook woes in recent months were reinforced by the survey which found waning interest in the company's platforms.

Developer interest for BlackBerry OS fell seven points to 21 percent while interest in its QNX-based PlayBook dropped six points to 13 percent. 

"Put another way, there’s now more interest in Nokia’s new Lumia Windows Phone lineup than RIM’s smartphones," the report noted. 

 
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