One week with a Kindle Fire HD

I’ve had the pleasure of using a new Kindle Fire HD for a week, and I have no doubt: it’s an awesome deal for just $139. There are a lot of reviews of the 7″ tablet, so I’ll simply focus on my thoughts on the product and Amazon itself.

Is Amazon really making the Kindle Fire family profitable? I know Amazon earns its money back as the device gets used, but really, are Amazon purchases enough to recover all the investment?

The strategy behind the Kindle Fire HD is to create a window (with a compelling price point) to all the Amazon content and the Amazon online store, not to make money on the hardware itself. And yet, I’m amazed at how Amazon doesn’t seem to mind the loss (as of November 2012, the actual cost of the Fire HD was $174 and it sold for $199), which should be around $35 per device.

Apparently, investors are more interested in revenue than in actual profits. In fact, it’s really easy to buy something from the tablet: you need a credit card linked to your account even to download free apps, so I bet that a lot of less-than-five-bucks purchases are made almost without thinking. Also, when scrolling through the Carousel View, suggestions of buyable content are shown right on the center of the screen. It’s that easy.

The device has a really good performance too; there are some scrolling lags here and there, but the overall user experience is pretty good. My biggest complains were:

  • Silk web browser: when it was launched in 2011, it was seen as a revolution in web browsing, however my experience was not that impressive; browsing through Netflix.com to add some DVD’s to my queue was quite a pain.
  • Amazon Appstore: the fact that Fire OS is a fork of Android makes things a lot easier when it comes to porting apps from the Google Play Store to the Amazon Appstore. However, it looks like there are big names still missing.

All in all, I can see why this tablet is a winner for those simply interested in watching movies, reading books, casual browsing, checking email and using Facebook; you can do all those things spending less than half of what the cheapest iPad Mini costs.

In conclusion, it’s not easy to find a good tablet for less than $150, but that’s exactly what the Kindle Fire HD is, probably the best of its kind. Good job Amazon!

Image via Amazon

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