Having received my Kindle Fire this morning I took a few pics of the packaging and began the setup process. Early days but everything has been very smooth so far.
I was prompted for a firmware update which I accepted – this took around 10 minutes to download and a couple more minutes to install and verify (all of which completed without any intervention required)
1. I connected the device via USB to my laptop and copied across a couple of PDF books that I had on my Laptop Hard Drive. These then appeared in the browser on the Kindle Fire Home Screen and also within the ‘books’ menu. SUCCESS!
2. I connected to the store and proceeded to purchase the Kindle Daily deal (“Punishment” by Anne Holt – 99c). I was prompted to enter my login details for Amazon again – which I did. For delivery I chose the option to ‘register a new Kindle’. this involved choosing a name for the device and entering it’s serial number (which I got from the tools menu). I then hit continue and was prompted for payment details as per normal.
I waited a few minutes then check the home screen for the book …. nothing has appeared as I write this approx. 1 hour later (my Amazon account says that the item is ‘pending’)
UPDATE: I found I could download the book to my PC and transfer it to the Fire via USB without any issues.
UPDATE 2 My Magazine subscription (99c for PC Magazine) got delivered after an hour or two so it looks like it is working but perhaps a little tardy …
3. While I was waiting I clicked on the Facebook icon on the home screen and entered my Facebook details. This took me to what appeared to be the standard Facebook web site – very serviceable, but a little disappointing (?)
4. Next up I clicked on another Home screen icon called ‘Pulse’. This promised to ‘bring all my favorite websites together’. This appears to be a very nice little RSS aggregator with a sweet and responsive UI. SUCCESS!
The Fire has its own bookshelf of apps and mine shows 15 with pre-installed shortcuts (Including the Amazon, Pulse and Facebook apps that I have already touched on). I clicked on the following to investigate a little further:
The app is free and downloaded in a matter of seconds. On launch I was prompted for a location and was able to type in “Gloucester UK”. All the functionality presented appeared to work fine in the UK UK
I was quickly able to register with a number of online providers including DropBox and Google Docs. I have an ‘old’ Google docs account and was able to open a simple spreadsheet from 2006 without any issues.
Again, a very quick install. After accepting the licensing agreements screen I was presented with a number of comics for purchase. I chose one of the ‘free’ comics to test out the functionality: ‘The Walking dead’ Issue 1. After a painless registration process (why were my details not pre-populated?). I proceeded with the download which took a matter of seconds. The app provides it’s own reader which made flipping through the pages of the comic an enjoyable experience.
There appears to be a wealth of video content available and while I didn’t try and download any full length films the trailers certainly looked good and definitely very watchable on this form factor. I can see this device being used as a multi-media version of the existing ink based readers (which was I guess the thinking behind this device all along)
I was a little surprised how well the Fire operated from within the UK and this perhaps bodes well for an early release on these shores?
It is impossible to do justice to this device in such a short review but while still only having had a couple of hours use the device looks like a knockout and sets the bar very high for devices at this price point.
Worth mentioning that while there will be those working feverishly on unlocking this device, I am not sure I would personally want to run full blow Android – it’s so nice to use such a simple and functional interface and get access to 90% of what I want so easily – well done Amazon!
(Secondary conclusion – better get some work done)
UPDATE: Although I could view all apps in the Amazon app store (which appears to be large and not unlike the standard Android store) I wasn’t able to download anything from there using my UK Amazon linked credit card. “The Amazon App Store is not yet available in your region”