Right now the king of the hill in tablet computers is the iPad. Amazon has recently announced a new line of Kindles, including the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″. This device is a direct challenge to the iPad. There is also a smaller 7″ model and Time technology editor Harry McCracken has been trying out a pre-release model. He reviews it and concludes:
So that’s the 7″ Kindle Fire HD. It offers a lot for the money; it’s full of ambitious features; it provides super-convenient access to a never-ending trove of content. Amazon declares that it’s the most advanced 7″ tablet on the market. From a technical standpoint, that’s a reasonable claim.
But is it the best one?
I won’t even contemplate that question until we know if the shipping software is less quirky than the pre-release version I tried. And even if the company irons out all the bugs, this tablet amounts to a Rorschach test. If the concept of a 7-inch window into Amazon’s vast shopping mall sounds aggravating, you’ll probably be more pleased with the Nexus 7, which remains a fine tablet in its own right. It’s more of a general-purpose computing device.
For happy Amazon customers, though, a Kindle Fire HD could be just the ticket — assuming that Amazon thoroughly polishes the software, that is. Here’s hoping it’s in rock-solid shape by the time the 8.9″ model debuts right before Thanksgiving.
Another review is from Walt Mossberg at All Things D. He concludes:
Amazon is upping its game in the color tablet market. Last year, it launched the 7-inch Kindle Fire, a pretty good, but limited, device mostly distinguished by its low price of $199 and its seamless access to Amazon’s massive ecosystem of e-books, music, videos and periodicals.