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Kindle Fire by Linda Cowls

I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas. Since tablets are the Big Thing right now, I wanted to share some basic info for anyone who may be thinking about an iPad or any other of the dozen or so tablets out there now. The Kindle Fire is a very good deal for the price.

I chose the Kindle Fire for three main reasons:
1.  EXPEDIENCY. I’ve had an original Kindle since 2008, so I already have a pretty good library of a couple hundred Kindle books. So as soon as I turned on the Fire the first time and entered my home wireless network password, e-mail and Amazon password to register, it just “sucked up” all my books that I already had on my other Kindle!  This was pretty cool, esp. since on my old b&w Kindle I never knew what my book covers looked like in COLOR!  The books on the original Kindle are still there.
Amazon offers Cloud storage, so I can access my books from either Kindle. You don’t have to download a book on the Fire until you actually want to read it, so you can have unlimited books without filling up the Fire’s 8 gig of memory.  I still like my old one, since the screen is perfect for reading in sunlight.  However, now with the Fire, I can sit out on my balcony in summer evenings, in the dark, and read. Not possible with earlier Kindles, which are not back-lit.
2.  PRICE. At $199, Kindle Fire is one-third the price of a $599 30-Gig Wi-Fi iPad. The Fire only comes in Wi-Fi; subscription internet is not yet an option. That’s fine with me since I already pay for home internet plus on my cell phone, and I refuse to pay for a third. I have a home wireless network that comes with my AT&T U-Verse and Wi-Fi is readily available at many fast-food places, etc. However it drives me nuts to go to my Mom’s house, with no network!
3. SIZE. The handy oblong 7-inch size is more easily slipped into a bag or big pocket to carry around… something that can’t be done with a 10-inch like an iPad. Yet, the Kindle Fire does most of what an iPad does. No camera or GPS, but the internet works beautifully. For an extra $79, I treated myself to Amazon Prime membership for a year, which offers free 2-day shipping on many items, the ability to borrow certain books for free, plus unlimited video streaming of tons of movies and TV shows. Right now I’m hooked on “24.”
Kindle Fire does not have a “desktop” like an iPad; the Home screen has a carousel of recently-accessed items on top, and Favorites can be parked below on virtual bookshelves. The top menu (Navigation Bar) options are:
Newsstand – magazines and newspapers can be downloaded digitally for about the same as single issue price
Books – all your books, with instant access to the Kindle Bookstore, which is impressive. Lots of books are free or cheap. Also, the first chapter of ANY Kindle book can be downloaded for FREE as a Sample.  A great feature, and I have loads of these.
Music – my music is all in iTunes and I never downloaded from Amazon Music until I got the Fire. It was easy, and I also found it was pretty simple to get my iTunes music into the Kindle Cloud. However, it requires an internet connection to listen. Sound quality is OK, but iPods sound better.
Video – This is great fun and why I extended the Prime Membership (which comes free for the first month!)  Loads of videos are available for free, and movies can also be rented.  Picture and sound quality is excellent.
Docs – Kindle Fire comes with an e-mail address specifically for sending documents to it. I had some PDFs of e-Books on my Mac and e-mailed a few to my Kindle.  Works like a champ!
Apps – Thousands of Android apps, similar to Apple App Store. Not as many of course, but how many will you download anyway?
Web – Amazon “Silk” browser is fast and smooth.  Also, the Wi-Fi automatically scans for open networks. I have to remember to turn that off when there is no network around, since constant scanning wears the battery down.
I LOVE my Kindle Fire and keep it with me all the time. Right now it’s re-charging, and I’m feeling antsy!  (Oh, the battery lasts a long time, I use it a few hours every day and only need to re-charge it every 2-3 days).  My only complaint so far is that, at nearly a pound (14.2 oz), it’s heavier than I’d like, esp. when holding with one hand. Also, the Fire sometimes powers down by itself, which is annoying. I sometimes have to hold the power button in for 30 seconds, then push it again to get it powered back on. I did a web search on this when it happened the first time, and found many complaints of the same phenomenon. Hopefully this glitch will be worked out when there is a system update.
I’d be happy to answer questions for anyone thinking about getting one.
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