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Keeping Score on Our Checklist of Desirable Features for the Kindle Fire HD

Our Kindle Fire editor April Hamilton has been doing a splendid job of reviewing the brand new Kindle Fire HD models which are now shipping for $199 from Amazon, so there’s not all that much for me to add here to her posts which have been coming out nearly every day lately on our site. If you haven’t been keeping up April’s posts you may be missing some very thorough and helpful reporting, including:

  • Yesterday, Sept. 19 – Great News! Text-to-Speech Better than ever, now live on the Kindle Fire HD! Get the details in April Hamilton’s helpful new Video Post: 3 Ways Your Kindle Fire HD Can Read Aloud To You, Including Text To Speech! http://bit.ly/S7JquC
  • Sept. 18 – Kindle Fire HD vs. Kindle Fire: Software and Functionality – plus, Text to Speech on the Fire! http://bit.ly/PwZO5i
  • Sept. 17 – “The New Kindle Fire HD vs. the First-Generation Kindle Fire: Our First KND Hardware Review http://bit.ly/FIRE-HD-on-KND-Hardware

Present and future Fire owners can keep up with all of April’s full-court coverage if they make sure to “like” our Kindle Fire at Kindle Nation Daily Facebook page for daily tips and great content at great prices – http://www.facebook.com/KindleFire.at.KindleNationDaily

So as April regroups today I’ll pinch-hit by focusing on the quick checklist that we posted before the launch of features that we felt might be part of a new Kindle Fire tablet that could potentially dominate the table market, and offer a quick appraisal of Amazon’s progress for those keeping score at home. Here’s what we said Amazon had to do, and in each case, here’s what they have done with the new $199 7″ Kindle Fire HD (herein called the KFHD7:

  • Slim it down – the KFHD is about 11% thinner than the old KF, slimming down from 0.45″ to 0.4″
  • Lighten it up – the KFHD is about 4% lighter than the old KF, 13.9 ounces compared to 14.6 ounces
  • Improve screen resolution – the KFHD display boasts 1280×800, up to 720p HD compared to 1024 x 600 pixel resolution for the old KF
  • Speed up the processor – the KFHD has a Dual-core, 1.2GHz OMAP4460 processor, much faster than the old KF dual-core processor
  • Improve web functionality with less reliance on truncated “mobile” representations – Early usage indicates much improved web functionality for the KFHD, including the capacity to set desktop rather than mobile mode under settings
  • Allow an SD Card – Not yet, probably decreasing in importance with improved onboard and cloud storage plus faster streaming
  • Offer 3G/4G wireless connectivity, possibly free with Amazon Prime – Coming in a very exciting package with the 4G LTE 8.9″ Kindle Fire that will ship Nov. 20 for $499 to $599 with a $50 first-year cost for the data plan
  • Keep the $199 price point for the new 7” Fire and offer a larger Fire for under $250 – 2 out of 3 with KFHD7 at $199, new KF7 at $159, and 8.9″ KFHD at $299
  • Allow greater user control of font sizes on the web and in apps – Vast improvement
  • Allow full input/output functionality for apps such as Google Docs/Google Drive documents – Limited improvement
  • Enhance curb appeal so that the Fire looks and feels as good as the Nexus 7 – Mission accomplished
  • Add external volume controls – Mission accomplished, although we’d prefer the volume control and power buttons to be just a tiny bit more discoverable to touch
  • Provide camera functionality similar to that on the iPhone – Front-facing HD camera only
  • Provide Siri/Iris Capability that hits the sweet spot both for information and for commerce – Not yet
  • Add a microphone – Built in microphone, which I will admit I have not used or tested yet
  • Add Text-to-Speech – Mission accomplished in an amazing array of improved TTS plus Whispersync with Audible.com
  • Place the power switch (and an external volume control) on the upper right edge – Upper middle edge, could be just a tiny bit more discoverable to touch
  • Allow greater user personalization and customization – We’ll get back to you on this
  • Add full-featured GPS for a 3G or 4G model – We’ll get back to you on this
  • Add maximum Android platform compatibility – Not yet
  • Add access to Google’s Android Market – Not yet
  • Seize every available opportunity to make the Fire a replacement for netbooks and notebook computers – Definitely some progress here, but the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD will be the real test.

All in all? It’s not just a home run. It’s a grand slam.

And the good news is that, of course, Amazon added all kinds of things that were not even on our checklist, like Bluetooth for audio and a keyboard (yes! but it’s just sitting dormant on the device for now, without a keyboard offering that we know of … yet), Dolby audio; dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (and 10-band wifi coming on the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD); anti-glare technology; Kindle FreeTime personalization for kids (and other family members!) and much more!


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