Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

The Kindle Fire

Posted on 29 September 2011 10 comments

Article illustration for The Kindle Fire

Amidst all of the excitement during yesterday’s announcement of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, I noticed a tweet from Neven Mrgan that perfectly summed up something I’d noticed myself:

My Mac friends’ excitement over Amazon’s announcement today reassures me that we’re not just circlejerking here. Good products are good.

~ Neven Mrgan

The buzz around the tablet’s release was evident across the Apple-centric blogosphere, with rumours receiving unusually high coverage on blogs ordinarily focused on all things Cupertino. Upon its release, Cult of Mac even penned a praise-laden opinion piece entitled ‘Why The Kindle Fire Is The First Real Alternative To iPad, And How It Predicts The iPad Mini’ — a post that captures my own feelings (minus the iPad Mini prediction) and, seemingly, the feelings of many others, also summarised in Neven’s aforementioned tweet: Amazon’s products deserve respect.

Up until now, skeptics might have dismissed Apple-focused blogs’ reactions to other tablets as pure fanboyism; it’s hard to find a positive word said about recent tablet efforts from Samsung (and their highly-publicised copycat antics) or the universally-panned PlayBook from RIM. But reading the posts about Amazon’s Kindle Fire — and, in fact, the new Kindle line in general — it’s clear that the tide has changed: here is a product that is different enough to the iPad to garner interest from the Apple-worshiping crowd. Not because it’s a viable alternative, but because it’s a different beast entirely. As John Gruber said:

Amazon built an alternative to the iPad, rather than a direct competitor. […] Apple and Amazon are approaching this tablet territory from opposing sides. The iPad takes it on from the high end. It’s the best possible device in that price range from the world’s best maker of devices. The Kindle Fire takes it on from the low end.

~ John Gruber

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.


  1. Alan


    29 September 2011 @ 12:32PM #

    I think this can directly compete with the iPad, the only downside to this is the screen size, so I can see where people might see an iPad Mini come in.

    As it works on Android, you already have a whole host of apps and games and if it works anywhere near as good as the iPad, then you have a huge competitor, especially when it comes in at around 1/3 of the the price.

  2. Anh Tran

    Anh Tran

    29 September 2011 @ 12:38PM #

    Totally agree Elliot. The normal Kindle looks sleek and smart and so very affordable. I’ve hardly ever gone onto the tube here and couldn’t find at least one person using it. I’m getting one of this for Laurie this christmas.

  3. Phil Ricketts

    Phil Ricketts

    29 September 2011 @ 01:37PM #

    I knew the price would be super cheap. The HP Touchpad ‘firesale’ has made it clear that the market is ready for a cheaper tablet, and Amazon aren’t going to release a £300 tablet after the Kindle’s success.

    What Amazon have done with the software too, is very, very clever, in respect to Google.

    I’ve actually begun to think that 10" is too big for a tablet, most of the time as well.
  4. Paul Sprangers

    Paul Sprangers

    29 September 2011 @ 01:45PM #

    After looking into the Fire (the tablet that is) I’m confident it will be a good device. To us nerds it’s clear that it isn’t a direct iPad competitor, but the general public that’s in the market for a tablet will consider both.

    In my opinion the Kindle Fire is the best cheap tablet around. I’ve seen so many people get fooled by buying a cheap “e-reader” tablet which is as useless to read on as a piece of toilet paper. The worst thing about it is they think they have bought something of the same greatness as an iPad… With the Fire that’s at least a lot more true.

    Personally I’m most excited about the Kindle Touch. Haven’t got a Kindle yet and the price point, size and design make it look like the best reading device ever. Unfortunately it can’t read all those nicely designed pdf books I’m reading lately, right?

  5. Jade Leong

    Jade Leong

    29 September 2011 @ 02:21PM #

    I have been waiting for this. The only problem is that it won’t be released in the UK. At least not yet. That’s what I’ve read this morning. The US will get it first.
    I’d like to compare it to an iPad and see how well it performs. Though the iPad app store outweighs the Android app market tenfold.

  6. Nick Thorley

    Nick Thorley

    29 September 2011 @ 02:50PM #

    I wonder how good the kindle fire will be in terms of reading a book. If the screen is lcd then will people buy a kindle standard for reading and a kindle fire for web, apps, media etc. I am hoping that they have developed a killer matt screen that works for both and with a good battery life – only time will tell.

  7. Brian Bates

    Brian Bates

    29 September 2011 @ 06:05PM #

    Looks awesome, especially with the web preprocessing bit. Would like to see that in action as well as see crucial apps like Rdio or Spotify be available before considering a purchase.

    It ultimately comes down to the apps. As an iPhone or iPad user, you can be fairly sure you’re getting apps first. Hopefully the Kindle Fire can prove the same.

  8. Adam Wilson

    Adam Wilson

    29 September 2011 @ 09:06PM #

    This may be a really stupid observation, but is this thing wifi only? I still don’t see the point in wifi only devices, thats what laptops are for (much like my couch surfing right now). If your tablet doesn’t connect to the internet anywhere, whats the point? Especially with a device like this specifically designed to be easily connected to your Amazon account.

    Call me crazy, but the relationship between what phone networks consider a monthly data package and the size of apps is somewhat ridiculous if you were to live on 3G alone. I’d say its impossible actually.

  9. Peter


    01 October 2011 @ 09:36AM #

    It looks like an iPad and runs Android. Can anyone come up with any ideas that are unique? Amazon has the resources for Wow but, we get another iPad clone.

  10. Russell


    24 October 2011 @ 04:28PM #

    There is certainly heavy competition for smaller tablets/e-readers right now but I’m sure that the Kindle Fire will lead the market. I just hope there is a UK release! www.kindlefireforum.co.uk

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