Kindle Fire's rough edges reflect poorly on Android

It's unfair to compare $200 Amazon reader with slick, costlier Apple and Microsoft tablets -- but that's what users will do

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However, the usability issues that Arment brings up, especially around interface lag and smaller touch targets, will undoubtedly quell their desire to use the device. I suspect many will end up stored on a high shelf next to that "interesting" tie also received over the holidays. It seems that a lack of comfort with new computing devices, fat thumbs, and poor eyesight -- which we can all look forward to -- aren't great ingredients for customer satisfaction with the Kindle Fire.

Even younger users, many of whom own or have used an iPod Touch or iPhone, are at risk of being annoyed with the Kindle Fire's lag and the user interface's roughness.

Some have argued that you can't compare a $499 iPad with a $199 Kindle Fire. That's true on paper. In practice, users will compare their Kindle Fire experience with that of an iPad. There isn't a tablet market -- there's an iPad market. That's the reason most Kindle Fire reviews compare it to the leading entry in the market, the iPad, and not other to other Android tablets or other 7-inch tablets like the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook.

A poor Kindle Fire experience reflects poorly on Android

When the Kindle Fire is perceived to deliver a less enjoyable experience than an iPad, the real risk is that the Android tablet market will be viewed in the same light. That may not be fair, considering that Amazon has forked the Android OS and Android continues to get better. However, because the Kindle Fire is expected to reach an order of magnitude more users than other Android tablets, and considering Amazon's technical reach, don't be surprised if typical users generalize their Kindle Fire experience to all Android tablets.

In fact, they already are: Earlier this week, Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Ashlee Vance wrote on his Twitter feed: "Just opened up the old Kindle Fire. Android sure has a Windows 3.0 feel, dunnit?"

That is exactly the type of comment that should make Apple happy and give Microsoft a faint hope in its Windows 8 tablet plans. If Amazon, with its great content and proven track record with the Kindle, can't pull off a device that users prefer to an iPad, what's the likelihood that any Android vendor can?

I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.

This article, "Kindle Fire's rough edges reflect poorly on Android," was originally published at Read more of Savio Rodrigues's Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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