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Why the Kindle Fire HDX Tablets Make No Sense To Me Anymore



I’ve  noticed that reviews are being published for Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet and they are largely positive. Looks like another hit for Amazon. Amazon has certainly made an impact since the debut of its first Kindle Fire Tablet in 2011. The low cost Fire Tablets have hit a sweet spot with a number of consumers. Given that Amazon, by its own admission, isn’t out to make money on selling the devices but instead making money from Kindle Fire users purchasing goods and services via the device, the Kindle Fire Tablets will probably always be in the lower cost range of consumer Tablets. That doesn’t mean that they are cheap. In fact, Amazon stepped up some of the hardware on the Kindle Fire HDX models this year to the point that some reviewers think the new Fires can burn off some of some of the sheen of Apple’s iPad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

The hardware certainly looks very nice and even from afar you can tell that Amazon paid attention to criticisms from the past and took advantage of today’s technology advances. It’s 20% lighter than the iPad Air. For those who count pixels the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has more and also a superb color screen, from what the reviewers are saying. This year’s edition, like all others, runs Android at the core, but this isn’t Android you’ll recognize. Amazon reworks and skins the device so that you have to look for signs that there is an Android engine in there somewhere. Android 4.2 is the base that Amazon mnow builds on and disguises.

And then there’s the price. Even outfitted with its largest storage capacity of 64GB and including LTE the Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9 HDX comes in at $479, which is $20 less than the smallest capacity iPad Air with WiFi only. And the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 has a bottom price of $379. So, if price is your key decision point, it is more than worth a look, especially considering the quality of the hardware.

Why then am I thinking that Kindle Fire Tablets are making less sense?

Essentially, I can get every Amazon service that it offers on an iPad, whether that be an iPad Air or earlier. Sure, I’m paying more for the iPad Air (and will be paying more of an iPad mini with Retina Display when it comes out as well.)  That’s not a concern of mine since I can have those Amazon services and have access to more benefits from Apple and other providers on iOS.

Two of the key services for me are Amazon Instant Video which has been available on iOS for some time now, and the new Xfinity TV Go service that allows me to watch streaming video from my Xfinity account anywhere I go. Most of the other 3rd party content services (Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, Spotify, Pandora,   etc…) are available on both the Kindle and iOS platforms so that’s a wash. But in addition to content Apple and Amazon offer, I can also take advantage of some of Google’s content services and Apps that don’t appear on the Kindle platform.

They include Google Chrome, Google Music, Google Maps, Google Drive and Google +. From where I sit, the iOS devices are the most agnostic Tablets when it comes to having Apps available from all comers. I can even use Microsoft’s OneNote on the iPad, and do, but not on the Kindle Fire.

In some ways this is an issue of Amazon’s own making. Because Amazon wants you to use its services, it made the majority of those services available for iOS. Intriguingly, it hasn’t made those same number of services available for Google’s Android devices.

I’m not putting down the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 or any other Kindle Tablet when I say this. (There’s also a new 7 inch edition of the Kindle Fire HDX.) They appear to be excellent devices. I very much liked the first Kindle Fire Tablet I owned and I know the advances since that first model have been significant and important. And for consumers shopping on a budget, the Kindle Fire Tablets make great sense.

Not everyone wants to have access to multiple services for content delivery and multiple App platforms. I do. So, when I can derive the same benefits plus more on another platform I think my choice is made. Why shop at a supermarket that doesn’t carry all of the products you want when the one a few blocks away carries those and more?



  1. Spaced

    11/07/2013 at 10:42 pm

    Conversely, you can get all the features and services you want on the Kindle so why pay more for the ipad, especially now that in terms of performance and experience, ipad does not have any edge? Apple is as much of a walled garden as Amazon. I think if you are an avid Apple user, you will stay with your ipad – you already have too much invested. For independent consumers not tied to a brand, the ipad makes less and less sense. What is that extra $100+ getting me? Imagined elegance and design aesthetics? Sorry, not enough. In short, nothing I can’t get on a kindle. Not to mention, access on the kindle is more integrated and a much more pleasant experience then using some of the services on other devices. As an independent consumer, I want the best that my money can buy and I am just not convinced that ipad is the best I can get. That being said, I credit Apple for spurring the innovation by its competitors that has given consumers choices.

  2. Colleen Kayter (@NerdyWoman51)

    11/08/2013 at 6:53 am

    I think you’ve all drunk too much Kool-Aid. For the same money, I can get a Windows Surface 2 or Nokia 2520, d/l a Kindle app, and have more power and more functionality for the same money. You can grouse about lack of crApps in the Windows store, but really, many apps are down-sized counterparts to more full-featured websites. I’ll use my browser for those, TYVM. IMO, Kindles are to Tablets what AOL was to the Internet.

  3. neuroelectronic

    11/08/2013 at 2:29 pm

    Stupid article. Just say “I already have an iPad so why would I want a HDX” /facepalm

  4. Ginger

    11/27/2013 at 9:27 am

    To my knowledge, iPad does not integrate audio and ebooks as the Kindle does with its ability to sync with Audible which offers human narration.

  5. spikemd

    11/28/2013 at 12:20 am

    Really? Ipads are way overrated and cost way too much. I can have 3 kindles for my kids or one Ipad they can fight over. Apple has you brainwashed.

    • Fawn Thayer

      12/01/2013 at 9:27 pm


  6. biggles

    11/28/2013 at 7:54 am

    You make a good point, but you’re using the wrong comparison. You can pick up the Nexus 7 providing more features and flexibility than even the iPad…and at the same price point of the Kindle Fire HDX. The iPad narrowly brings the best user experience, but in this day and age, it’s becoming marginal compared to the best Android hardware. Too bad Apple can’t learn to price their products on the same slim margins they design them to.

  7. Fawn Thayer

    12/01/2013 at 9:26 pm

    Personally, I prefer the Kindle Fire and I will tell you why. I’ve had a iPad third generation for years and I did everything I thought I could with it and I have a galaxy s4 now which the pic is amazing and I cant look at my iPad anymore because of that. Well my 2 year old son plays lots of apps on it and learns alot, however it is rather large and he sometimes scares me with dropping it lol. The Kindle Fire is a lot lighter and sleek. You can say yea I can’t get my microsoft’s one note on it, but you could type in an email….and then upload it later. It’s for entertainment and reading! That reasoning for disliking it is just ridiculous! I had an Iphone 4s for years as well the whole Apple thing get so boring after a while! Dont you want something more creative, where youre not paying for the name? The significance of your reasoning to pay more for the iPad is pretty ridiculous, not going to lie!

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