I was researching the eReaders that are currently available the other day. It was a mission provoked by my wife expressing her desire to buy me one for Christmas. I managed to locate some very reasonably priced ones but she was less than enthusiastic because they hadn’t got a trusted brand and were generally from Far Eastern companies. That limited the possibilities significantly.
In fact, she’s most inclined to buy me a Kindle. She has one herself and loves the fact that it so seldom requires charging. Now, to be honest, I’m less of an ebook reader than she’s become, and I naturally tend towards devices that have multiple functions. It made sense, therefore, for me to look at alternatives. Some of the “unknown brands” offer audio and video in addition to eBook functions but suffer because of a bad experience I’ve already had with an imported Android tablet. The Kindle Fire, though outside our budget by a considerable margin, does offer the extras.
I was surprised to discover, however, that the Kindle Fire has a major drawback compared to the original Kindle! It makes me wonder if it’s really a step forward at all. Quite simply, the battery life of the Fire is abysmal compared to the Kindle. My wife has gone weeks between charges with her Kindle, but the Fire has an estimated battery life of less than twelve hours! I know that it reflects the colour screen and everything else but that seems a huge difference. If the primary use of the device remains reading ebooks, I can imagine that buyers will be less than impressed.
In truth, I think that Amazon have blundered. While the name Kindle Fire is nice enough, I think that they should have not maintained the Kindle name with this new device. The Kindle Fire is a tablet. By retaining the Kindle name, the suggestion that it’s simply an improved eReader is clear. The battery performance, however, will damage how the original Kindle is viewed. If Amazon had gone with a totally different name, then potential buyers would be more inclined to compare the Kindle Fire with other tablets, where it competes reasonably well, rather than with eReaders, where it suffers from its reduced battery life.