Why I’m not interested in a Kindle Fire

The Kindle, and really the Kindle apps, have completely changed my reading habits. I was stuck in a rut of not reading (technically not finishing) many books – and I had a Kindle device collecting dust.

Then I installed the Kindle iPhone app about a year ago, and my reading took off. The idea that you can sync your reading location was the bait — and then the ability to read in 5-10 minute bursts on the iPhone gave me the momentum that I needed. I read exclusively non-fiction, so not sure this would work with fiction where usually you want longer reading periods.

I’m now reading 4 or 5 books at once, and finishing nearly all of them, reading about 3/4 of the time on the dedicated Kindle device, and the other 1/4 on a combination of the iPhone, iPad, and even on the MacBook Air sometimes. Plus with the iPhone in hand, I’m buying books while in mid conversation with someone about a great book that they are reading, or while watching a book author interviewed on Charlie Rose or Daily Show — it’s awesome to have that 1-click experience.

So how does this relate to the Kindle Fire and not wanting to buy one ?

The Kindle Fire to me appear to be competing with the iPad with a lower price point (but no 3G, no camera, slower processor) – with the upside of the full Amazon goodness for e-books, videos, etc.

Maybe b/c it’s called a “Kindle”, I’m evaluating the Kindle Fire for reading books 🙂 And not all that other stuff.

My big argument is that I think reading is so different than other experiences in it’s singular focus and strong requirement for a “distraction-free zone”, that I simply cannot understand why you would want a general purpose device for reading.

I love that the regular Kindle is a single app device, has a battery that last weeks and not hours — and more importantly that email, web browsing, and Angry Birds aren’t trying to distract me. I also find that working 16 hr days in front of screens, makes me enjoy the e-ink nature of the Kindle screen — just feels different and a bit easier on the eyes.

Of the new Kindle devices that are coming out, I’m excited about the Kindle Touch 3G – and will probably pick that up soon. I have the original 1st generation Kindle, and find the keyboard totally unused, and the overall button placements a bit odd, so a touch screen and a more streamlined design looks appealing.

It will be interesting to see if people’s reading habits change if they switch from a regular Kindle to a Kindle Fire and now have all these other things they can do.

It’s also true that historically software wins in the long run, and dedicated hardware eventually gets replaces or absorbed. iPod -> iPhone is a good example, but a different experience b/c of the lack of screen focus. If the screens get much better on these iPad like devices, and the weight comes way down — I could see changing my mind and learning some discipline to avoid distractions/work. But for now, I’m sticking to my guns that a dedicated reading app is a good thing.