‘Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual’ author to return Kindle Fire, keep his ‘years ahead’ Apple iPad 2

“It is still early days for the Fire. Many were doubtless sold as Christmas gifts, so the true verdict from the masses won’t come for a few weeks,” David Streitfeld writes for The New York Times. “But in the meantime here is another professional evaluation, from someone who has probably used the Kindle more than anyone who does not work for Amazon. Peter Meyers is a digital book consultant who is writing ‘Breaking the Page: Transforming Books and the Reading Experience’ (free download of the first three chapters here). He broke off from that effort last month to write ‘Kindle Fire: The Missing Manual,’ to be published in January as a print volume and an e-book from O’Reilly Media. Mr. Meyers could be accused of bias; if the Fire is a tremendous failure, the market for his manual would be negligible. But he was not paid by Amazon to write it, and the retailer had no control over its contents. Amazon did not even give him a Fire.”

Streitfeld reports, “Mr. Meyers’s verdict, in an e-mail to me: ‘Apple would have never shipped a device like the Fire. It’s got way too many rough edges (sluggish touchscreen, magazine apps that don’t really fit the smaller screen, an easy-to-hit power button). And even little things like how the power cord jiggles when plugged in wouldn’t have made it past the demo room in Cupertino.'”

“Once his manual is finished, Mr. Meyers does not see much of a future for his own Kindle Fire,” Streitfeld reports. “‘Mine’s going back in the box as soon as I’m done,’ he wrote. ‘The iPad 2 is years ahead of it and lets me consume and create with no friction.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When even your “Missing Manual” author doesn’t like the product, you’ve got quite the problem. No wonder Amazon doesn’t disclose Kindle figures; knowing the number of post-holiday Kindle Fire returns would likely make analysts’ heads spin.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David E.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Amazon touts Kindle e-reader sales with few details – December 15, 2011
Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire’s big security problem – December 14, 2011
Lack of parental controls on Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire lets kids charge up a storm – December 12, 2011
Disgruntled early adopters of Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire have slew of complaints – December 12, 2011
Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire estimated to play distant second fiddle to Apple’s market-dominating iPad – December 6, 2011
Usability expert Jakob Nielsen tests Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire: ‘A disappointingly poor user experience’ – December 5, 2011
Instapaper creator reviews Amazon’s tiny screen Kindle Fire: Bad game player, bad app platform, bad web browser, bad video player and bad Kindle – November 18, 2011
PCWorld reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Flawed, unimpressive, subpar; can’t hold a candle to iPad – November 16, 2011
Mossberg reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Frustrating, clunky, much less capable and versatile than iPad – November 16, 2011
Apple iPad 2 vs. Amazon Kindle Fire: Bootup, browsing, and Netflix streaming (with video) – November 16, 2011
Wired reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Web browsing sucks, emotionally draining, makes reading a chore – November 14, 2011
NY Times’ Pogue reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Sluggish, ornery, unpolished – November 14, 2011
The Verge reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Uninspired, confusing, incredibly unoriginal – November 14, 2011
Engadget reviews Amazon’s tiny-screen Kindle Fire: Sluggish, clunky, too limiting and restricted – November 14, 2011

PC Magazine reviews Apple iOS 5: The best phone and tablet OS, Editors’ Choice – October 15, 2011
The Guardian reviews Apple iPad 2: Ahead of the pack – March 25, 2011
The Telegraph reviews Apple iPad 2: Does everything better; now’s the perfect time to join the iPad club – March 25, 2011
Computerworld reviews Apple’s iPad 2: ‘The Holy Grail of computing’ – March 16, 2011
Ars Technica reviews Apple iPad 2: Big performance gains in a slimmer package
Associated Press reviews Apple iPad 2: Apple pulls further ahead – March 10, 2011
PC Mag reviews Apple iPad 2: The tablet to get; Editors’ Choice – March 10, 2011
Associated Press reviews Apple iPad 2: Apple pulls further ahead – March 10, 2011
PC Mag reviews Apple iPad 2: The tablet to get; Editors’ Choice – March 10, 2011
Pogue reviews Apple iPad 2: Thinner, lighter, and faster transforms the experience – March 10, 2011
Baig reviews Apple iPad 2: Second to none – March 10, 2011


  1. Here is the gist of Kindle – iPad users.

    Kindle: yeah got the car, wheels tend to get loose, overheats, power windows work sometimes. Takes about 4 tries to startup and 10 min to warm up before i can move. Yeah the transmission slips sometimes. But hey I got it cheap and takes me where I want to go.

    iPad: yeah car runs great, everything works, awesome mileage. Really comfortable. I paid a little more and man was it worth it.

      1. Can’t drive it in the winter cause reaction time is slow – but hey what does a guy expect, I got this thing cheap – I mean cheaper than the sum of the parts …. I can dismantle and make a few bucks, if I wanted to ….

  2. I wish Apple continued to produce the 1stGen iPad and left it on the market for like $299. Amazon fanboys keep citing that $300 price differential between the Fire and iPad 2, but the Fire isn’t even a better deal than the iPad 1.

    1. http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB292LL/A

      Apple-certified refurbs are as good as new. Unfortunately, it’s usually not available and sells out fast when it’s available. 🙁

      But the pricing shows that it is possible to sell last year’s model for $299. However, since Apple sells every iPad 2 it can produce for full asking price, and have a higher profit margin per unit, the question is WHY, not IF, they should sell the original iPad at the low end for $299.

      1. Must it all be about profit margin? How about getting an iPad into more hands? How about ensuring more people get their first tablet experience from Apple, instead of buying a crappy Kindle Fire and losing faith in tablets as a result of their disappointment? Or locking more people into the iOS ecosystem?

        Amazon is coming with a 10″ tablet, and they probably want to sell it at $299. Apple better not blow their chance like they did with smartphones.

        1. Yes, for Apple, it’s usually about profit margin. The closest I’ve seen Apple come to compromising on profit margin was for the original iPad’s release, when they were trying to ramp up production and did not yet have the current volume advantage on buying components, AND they wanted to get the low-end price under $500. But it was still profitable from the start, unlike Kindle Fire.

          > Apple better not blow their chance like they did with smartphones.

          Apple “blew their chance” with smartphones? Wow…! Who knew? Apple is making most of the available profit in the mobile phone industry. Again, for Apple, it’s usually about profit margin, not selling the most units at all cost.

          Apple is also about great “value” and user experience. It is more likely that Apple will make the next iPad model more “valuable” while keeping the price tag at $499. Apple is not about selling at the lowest possible price, just to sell more units. Since the current iPad 2 sells out at the asking price, there is NO business motivation to make less profit per unit on a lesser model. Why dedicate existing or new production capacity on something that is less profitable?

          But the current iPad 2 is a very nice product, even one year after release, so it would not be surprising if Apple kept it going as the low-end choice when a new iPad model comes out. But I doubt it will be $299.

        2. Apple won’t play in that sandbox. If they haven’t been as successful as some people have wanted them to be, its because they were happy being the company Steve made them. When they start trying to match the world on price they’ll have to suffer the drop in quality, and that will be the end of Steve’s Apple, because it will become Dell. They only want their products in the hands of those who a) appreciate their best and b) are willing to pay the premium for it. It maintains the brand value. And I’d say their strategy is working just fine.

  3. Apple commentator and affectionado, Andy Ihnatko, writing in Macworld this month says the Kindle Fire is good value for money even if it’s not perfect and not in the iPad league.

    He reckons that the 7 inch format is perfectly useable in places that a 10 inch is not, preferring to see this a a horses for courses choice.

  4. So! Much as I have wished the Kindle Fire well, it can’t even make a good impression in its own little color reader niche. Doesn’t that just suck?!

    I’ve heard and read of other pre-happy, post-sad-returning-it victims within the tech community. There is a theory going on that there are actually a few reasonably working Fires out on the market, but that they are the minority. IOW: The quality tolerance on the manufacturing of the Fire is crap. Doesn’t that just suck?!

    The Big Boney Finger Of Business Boners is pointing squarely at Amazon for letting this meager POS out on the market far too early. Darn, they didn’t count on CUSTOMER RETRIBUTION. It’s the same old marketing moron story that plagues the modern biznizz world. Ho hum.

    I suspect the number of returned Amazon Kindle Fire devices is already shockingly high. Anyone living near Amazon warehouses might want to keep an eye out on Boxing Day (December 26th) for smoke clouds indicating illegal burning of customer rejected Fires. Either that, or SURPRISE! You got ‘BOXED’ with a Fire yourself. 🙁

  5. Amazon is successfully selling thiese things by hiding (not disclosiing) Android’s and Giigle’s unlying OS in marketing. Checkj out the Kindle Fire page on Amazon.com.

    “Android” is not mentioned until the “What People Are Saying” section of the Fire’s home page.

  6. Why All the hating? I have I one and love it. It power butto. Isn’t really an issue but if it bugs you that much just flip the unit upside. The screen will rotate now the power buttonia on top and you won’t accidentally hit it.

    I would love to have an iPad but this fire is not an iPad replacement, it’s a kindle replacement. It competes with its own products and other eReaders not iPads.

    1. So it doesn’t bother you that the user interface is slow and choppy? Or that it occassionally fails to acknowledge touch input? Or that magazines are unreadable on the 7 inch screen unless you zoom in? Or that web browsing is a pain on it? Or that it has no security? No privacy?

      Not only are there better tablets out there, there are also much better eReaders out there. One of them is the regular Kindle, ironically. So I wouldn’t even call it a Kindle replacement.

      Why do you downright love the Fire? It’s a lemon. And not that good Liz kind.

  7. Congratulations to everyone who receives a Kindle Fire for the Holidays! You’re a $200.00 return closer to owning an iPad!

    Seriously, though, two things:
    The Kindle Fire is a reasonable product at a reasonable price, as long as you aren’t considering it an iPad replacement (it’s a Kindle replacement).

    Second, Apple may come out with a 7-inch design next year, although I think if they do it will be marketed more smartly as a larger iPod touch, rather than a smaller iPad. It will still cost more than a Kindle Fire, but it will ‘work’ so much better. And that will be the cold water that douses the Fire, and marginalizes all other 7-inch form factors as ‘toys’.

  8. Bought one for my 5 year old daughter thinking we can download all the apps that is on my droid phone. (she is always running by battery dead.) Found out you can’t download many apps because amazon is not contracted with them. I thought this was a droid os. I feel very mislead. I bought it at Toys r Us and they won’t take electronic returns. Now the $500 ipad will end up costing me $700.

  9. Gave my wife a Kindle Fire for Christmas…. tried to setup her email on it (Google Apps email) – can’t do it… tried to use Facebook – web browser only.

    I wasn’t looking for an iPad replacement… but there are some basic things that all tablets must do. This isn’t it… this would have been a great tablet in 2009.

    I’m a huge Amazon fan – they are executing very well on multiple fronts – they rushed this. I liked the comment about this not making it past testing in Cupertino… I felt the pain when I accidentally pushed the power button twice!

  10. I have the Fire. I did have to install email twice. My granddaughter installed it for me on Xmas day. I discovered a few days later that my emails were coming in but not going out. Reinstalled it and it works just fine now. Facebook works too. I have Comcast and found out I cannot download my address book. That was a little disappointing, but I will just enter e-mails as I receive them. You can add them without typing them in. My primary use for e-mail will be when on vacation, and I don’t need everybody’s address. I have printed them out though and put the list in my carry on so I will always have them handy while I am gone. Also getting pretty good at manipulating the screen. But then, I’ve never used an IPad so I have no comparison. I did lots of research before deciding I wanted one. I had the original Kindle and have never been disappointed with it in the 3 years since I purchased it. I’m happy with my new Kindle Fired and do not have any complaints to date.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.