Kindle Fire First Impressions

I finally got to put my hands on a Kindle Fire today. I only used it in a store for a few minutes, but my immediate impression was that it wasn’t as awful as I’d expected, but that I couldn’t imagine buying one to use.

Immediate takeaways:

  • I’ve seen 7″ tablets before, but it still seems crazy small. Why is the tendency in the non-iOS world towards huge phones and tiny tablets? Is this something consumers want or is it something they’re being given?
  • It took 2-4 touches for most things on the home screen to register correctly.
  • The carousel is a terrible UI metaphor for finding anything. I can’t imagine it being the main way I interact with the device and not being frustrated.
  • It would be better to have not shipped magazine reading as a feature than to have it the way it is.
  • Miscellaneous visual glitches were frequent.

I also noticed some positive things:

  • It seemed totally acceptable for playing the preloaded games. Cut The Rope seemed about the same as on iOS.
  • Although tapping on the home screen was pretty non-responsive, swiping around the carousel was OK lagginess-wise. Better than I expected for sure.
  • From a purely visual standpoint, the software and the device both weren’t as ugly as other Android based things I’ve tried. That has nothing, however, to do with actually using it.