‘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.]

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29 Comments

  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.

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