Kindle Fire: A Swing and a Miss?

The Kindle Fire: “Don’t call it a tablet.”

Ars Technica does one of its super-in-depth reviews of the Fire, and that’s the verdict. It’s the tablet that isn’t really a tablet. Here’s why:

But in our time with the Kindle Fire, it fell far short of what tablets should be able to accomplish. As a vector for Amazon’s video and music stores and huge e-book selection, it’s great. As an e-reader, it’s merely OK. As an Internet and app portal, it falls short of Amazon’s promises.

As an Amazon Prime member since launch day, I was hoping they’d knock one out of the park with the Fire. But with the reviews I’m reading, I’ll wait for Fire 2 or Fire 3. Amazon is still going to sell boatloads of these things — because at $199, it’s practically an impulse purchase.

Yet the draft-release Fire reminds me of something Steve Jobs said about Atari and Commodore computer, back in the early ’80s. He didn’t worry about the smaller, cheaper computers because he considered them “advertisements” for why people really needed an Apple ][ instead. As a Commodore owner, I sure didn’t feel that way — but I knew lots of kids who did.

In the same way, the cheaper, less capable Kindle Fire might remind buyers that what they really wanted all along was an iPad.