I’m probably not supposed to admit to these moments. But, over the past weeks, I’ve started to care less that I’m doing the popular thing with this tech, and more that I’m doing the sensible thing. Of those sensible things, its admitting when you make a mistake. That’s a hard one. I don’t make too many of these when it comes to tech purchases. But when I do, its a doozy and sets be back all kinds of ways. The mistake that I’m pointing to is the purchase of the Kindle Fire HD.
I can point to previous mistakes. The first desktop I got I spent $500 too much for (according to the newspaper which had the exact same model a week later). I bought the Palm Zire 71 for a consolidated MP3 player and camera, but got rid of the great screen and battery life that I adored with the Palm M515. There was the acquisition of the Moto C331 that was great, but the C333 that followed it wasn’t so smart. And then there’s this Kindle FIre HD… it enters this list as both an experiment and a mistake.
Why is it that purchasing the Kindle Fire HD (KF-HD) is considered a mistake? Well, hindsight is 20/20, and in this case, it was it breaking that’s proven whether it was worth it or not. Let’s start with what it was not.
The KF-HD is not a computer in the sense that I should have felt overly empowered by it. Yes, I could download apps. And yes (as the picture above shows), I could get by doing things like writing and drawing – but everything about staying productive was a compromised experience. From applications that were designed for the resolution not for the physical size, to it being more a consume-then-buy-more device (Amazon built it for that), its just something that I should have taken more time to think about as a best fit.
The comparable devices to this I’d considered were the Samsung Tab (7in models) and the Google Nexus 7. But, in those cases as well, I would have come across the same kind of limitations. In some respects, my computing activities while wanting for the smaller screen (the 7in size is really just right), didn’t receive from developers the polish needed for me to be as productive as I would have liked to be.
Speaking towards just the hardware, my KF-HD was as durable as Amazon needed it to be. I’ve replaced it only once – after a crack showed itself under the glass and I wasn’t too happy about that. Currently, I’m sitting with this 2nd KF-HD it cracks all over the glass. But, that’s because I dropped it and despise using cases. Its almost a very disposable piece of hardware. Google’s Nexus 7 seems the same. Not that its a bad thing when you have companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, etc. who have all of your data and purchases tied to accounts and servers that are far from your physical location.
Software and Touchscreen
I ended up purchasing a stylus because the space afforded and the (in) sensitivity of the touchscreen made it necessary. That said, I didn’t want to use it all that much. Android isn’t made for indirect input, and developers don’t really push that idea all that far unless they have some kind of incentive. I did get used to Swype, against previous objections to it. And even now use it on my N9. But, I still don’t feel that QWERTY is the best kind of input interface for anything smaller than a 11in laptop.
I’m really kind of kicking myself for the last piece of software that I purchased. I thought it would be something that I could use in a corporate setting as well as with a client, but it would have been better put on my iPad (and its diminishing battery). Unfortunately, I don’t see a means of getting a refund for that app, or transferring that license to my iPad doesn’t seem to be a part of this kind of app-universe (anymore).
I liked using Skype. Those moments seeing and talking with my niece just make this kind of tech very nice. I probably had only two moments where the device stuttered or nearly crashed on me. To that end I am very impressed. Seems like a lot of what Amazon did to Android was to keep applications from causing the KF-HD to diminish in overall quality. I’ll miss that. Even my iPad didn’t seem to have the kind of polish.
Conclusion and Archival
Don’t get me wrong, I feel that there could be some successes with the KF-HD and similar-sized tablets. But, not for me at this stage, unless I were to bend less towards how I’ve been creating and take on more of the kind of computing that it seems the mainstream is using/advocating. If the interface were built for interacting in that 7in window, it could have been better. That seems the biggest difference between the iPad (1st gen) and this. It seems built for the size and use cases.
What would I have done differently? I probably should have purchased the MotoActv instead. Not that I probably would have stayed happy with things, I might have that conclusion about that device at this point as well. I experiment, and that’s kind of the cost of these moments.
I’ll have to wipe and then send this to a recycling facility. I’m not interested in keeping devices around that don’t get used. If it weren’t broken, I’d continue to use multiple screens and just let its use stick around. Or, at least wipe it and give it to someone who would gain from using it.
My mistakes cost a lot. But, the lessons remain and I move on. Make enough of them and you start to just do other things ok. I’ll learn.