I really wanted an original Amazon Kindle – really. In fact too much to wait for them to become available in Canada. So I first got a Sony PRS505, then one (and a second) Sony PRS300 and last summer a Nook Touch (yep, I have two kids, my wife finds the Nook Touch the perfect device so I’m still using the first). I took the ePub road and never regretted it – even if most books I’ve bought have not been from the Sony or Barnes and Noble stores (most recent purchases were done with Kobo).
When the Kindle Fire was announced (even a bit before that) I become interesting again in Amazon’s hardware. Not for reading books, never did much my iPad, but to allow me to use/develop Android applications. I’m sure that low-cost Android devices will bring more people to consume medias and applications on the platform. Phones are nice (and getting nicer) but I don’t watch movies on them.
Kobo surprised me by releasing their own tablet, similar to the Fire. Even more surprising what it’s price of 199$ – since, even when the CDN$ is worth more than the US$, we generally have to pay more for the same hardware.
- cheap 199$ device;
- available now (in Canada);
- microSD reader;
- it won’t charge from USB when connected to a computer – making it a bad choice for a development device;
- it consumes way too much power when sleeping – e.g. it won’t survive a night, forcing you to turn off the device (and enjoy the long reboots);
- it crashes/turn itself off/won’t resume too often to trust the device to entertain you on a plane trip (plan a backup book or device);
- adb does not see the device – so I can’t connect to the device to upload Mono for Android applications;
- the provided market is getjar, not bad but not the Android Market;
- microSD, not a full SD card, reader – that was not what I read from their web site and will make looking at pictures harder (since I had a lot of SD cards and no microSD);
- the main interface menus don’t rotate, forcing you to manually rotate the device;
iPad (first generation) comparison:
- Same depth as my original iPad;
- Nothing feels half as fast as my iPad;
Nexus S comparison:
- Nothing feels half as fast as the Nexus;
- Vox’s lack of Android Market and Google Apps is frustrating;
Not fair comparisons ? maybe not 😉 but those are the similar devices I got.
I believe most problems can go away with software updates. I cancelled the Kindle Fire as I don’t expect much more from it, except a better locked down device. Maybe the new Nook Color will be better ?
Anyway my advice is to wait a bit (more reviews, software updates) before buying a cheap tablet – even from a known retailer. A lot can (and will) change before christmas 🙂