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Kindle Fire Firestorm About Touch Is Much Ado About Android



Lots of folks are picking up on a study that says users are having some “fat finger” difficulty with Touch on the Kindle Fire. All of the Apple lovers are saying this affirms Steve Jobs’ comments that Tablets in a 7 inch form factor just won’t work. Time may indeed prove Jobs correct, but quite honestly, I think the criticism is misplaced to a degree.

The real problem is with Android and how its Touch software gets integrated and optimized with the hardware. This problem has existed on Tablets since Android first started appearing on Tablets. Let’s face it, Android’s Touch system doesn’t work as well with Tablets as Apple’s controlled system does. This is largely due to how Android is implemented across a range of devices without much control by Google. Tablet PC and UMPC owners will remember that we saw similar issues with Touch implementation on the various OEM devices.

UPDATE: This is some interesting reading on the subject.

The same complaints could be made with any 7 inch Tablet in my view, not just because of the form factor but because of the lack of coherent optimization with the OS. We haven’t seen a 7 inch Tablet that meets this criteria yet. To be honest, I don’t think we will until Apple decides to make one. There might be some hope with Microsoft and Windows 8, but I wouldn’t count on that since Microsoft, like Google, will not be in charge of the whole shebang once the OS bits are sent to OEMs.




  1. yeahright

    12/06/2011 at 7:49 am

    I have a Barnes and Noble Nook and a Samsung Galaxy Tab and have not found any troubles with this “fat finger” effect.  I gave the Galaxy Tab to my 60+ mother.  She has not seen the effect either.  So I guess, as I have told you before, you have a preference for Apple and it comes out in your writing.  You claim to be a balanced blogger, but in my readings of your blogs you are not.  Last time I commented you came back with a statement challenging me to give you my email address and reveal my identity to you.  If you and GBM don’t want anonymous comments then disable them in your website.  You have control of the website, I don’t!  Until then I guess you have to tolerate anonymous comments even if you don’t like them.

  2. Anonymous

    12/06/2011 at 8:15 am

    Good to know that the Nook Tablet is different. It’s not that I don’t like anonymous comments. I just don’t lend much credence to them. You could be from a manufacturer or developer for all we know. (That does happen.)

  3. DrewPoling

    12/06/2011 at 9:06 am

    I have not had any touch related issues with my kindle Fire and I don’t really think of it as a tablet, its a Kindle.

  4. Amy Zunk

    12/06/2011 at 10:44 am

    I have had the Kindle Fire since it came out and havent had any issues with the touch or ‘fat finger” effect.  It may be an issue with Android, or it could be a user issue.

  5. Sam P

    12/06/2011 at 9:40 pm

    To a certain extent, this is probably an application GUI developer issue. When you build a GUI on Android, you can specify positions and sizes of graphical objects in device-specific units like pixels or in device independent units like inches. On a small screen, there is a temptation to optimize the layouts down to a pixel, but this tends to make the UI less adaptable to other devices than ones similar to the one you optimized for. When designing for large screens, there’s a temptation to pack a lot of stuff on the screen, but that doesn’t work so well on smaller screens.

    Apple currently only has three screen types for iOS (I think… original iPhones, Retina display iPhones, and iPad), so its reasonable to optimize for each, while for Android, there are many resolutions with many physical sizes, it’s going to be hard to have a nice layout for all the combinations without a lot of work and testing.

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