The Kindle Fire – This is THE choice for schools right now

It’s even better than the iPad! Yes, I just wrote that!

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Amazon just release three new products today. A Kindle for $79, a Kindle Touch for $99/149, and of course Amazon’s new Kindle Fire priced at $200. Despite the lousy name (the Amazon Kindle Fire-really?) this tablet is certainly something to be very excited about. In fact, I daresay that if schools are looking to integrate tablets into their classrooms that the Fire may IS a better choice than the iPad. Don’t believe me? Read on past the break to see my point of view and if you agree disagree or have no idea what a tablet is, Omar and I want your opinion.

UPDATE: Some more than helpful viewers have pointed out a few flaws that makes it worth while to wait on the Kindle Fire. Read about it here. I still think it’ll be a winner, just wait a bit on it.

The first selling point is the price (get it? Selling point?). At $200 no serious competitors even come close to that, and let’s be realistic here. When a school buys an iPad they can’t honestly think it will last longer than three years can they? I would think three years would even be pushing its lifecycle to it’s max. The wear and tear would definitely start to show especially if a student is using it every day for school work. Plus, new operating systems come out almost annually. With that there will be new apps that only run on those operating systems and next thing you know the shiny iPad the school has purchased is out-of-date and not as effective. When you’re talking about a device that is $200, it is certainly an investment, but at less than 50% the price of an iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab it definitely becomes a serious possibilities. Replacing those every three years seems a lot less painful than the iPad which doesn’t seem to want to budge from its price at $500.

But price isn’t everything. It could be priced at $50 but if it’s slow, crashes, or basically doesn’t have the hardware to compare, then that would make it a poor investment. Not the case with the Fire. Check out the bulleted list below.

  • A 7”, 16 million color IPS display (better than iPad’s according to Gizmodo)
  • Gorilla glass (this is a really tough glass that is hard to scratch and break and it’s used on many devices)
  • 14.6 ounces/413 grams (that’s nearly half a pound lighter than the iPad 2)
  • The back is rubberized (durable, can take more wear and tear, won’t slip from a desk)
  • Battery life of 8 hours of continuous reading (more than acceptable)
  • 8 GB of internal memory & tons of cloud storage
  • A web browser (it’s called Silk)
  • Powered by a duo core processor

So the specs look good, but what about the performance? Well pop over the Engadget or Gizmodo and check out their hands-on-video (it’s from the same demo but at different angles). Go ahead, we can wait. One thing that strikes me about the video is how damn fast and responsive it is! I mean there is no lag at all and the guy doing the demo just flies right through different apps, magazines, books, and surfs. It is crazy how smooth it is. I can only speak about the iPad experience and it is pretty nice, but this seems right there with it!

Some of you out there may still be shaking your heads, I can’t see you, but I feel it. You may be saying, 8GB is a joke. That’s way too little storage. Fear not my nay-sayers, with the Fire you get access to Amazon’s Cloud storage. So you can store all your movies, books, magazines, and even music on their giant server that gives you nearly “unlimited storage” (that’s what the demo guy says in the Engadget video). Wow. You can stream music, surf, and read all your books. They even say you can delete books that you download from your device and then re-download them for free later on!

OK, it sounds sweet but what does Amazon bring to the table that no one else has. In a word-books. I know that Apple has a pretty respectable book selection and reading program, but let’s not kid ourself. Amazon is clearly the king when it comes to ebooks and this thing is a KINDLE after all. The reading experience is something that is very important to Amazon. Getting to the books, leaving notes, looking up words is important and getting to your books is right there in the homepage. Overall, it may not be that much better than the iPad in this respect, but I’m willing to bet that it does just as well as the iPad and for $300 dollars cheaper at that.

The user interface seems very easy to find what you’re looking for and like I mentioned before, it is fast! Basically it is easy to get what you want whether it’s in the cloud or on your device. Your library of media is first and foremost when you turn on the Fire. The Fire also has access to Amazon’s Android App store and no access to Google’s though 😦 . You can still find games, productivity apps, and resource apps on there to help you organize, research, and relax a bit. Also, according to Gizmodo, the Fire will have it’s own email client (you can receive and send emails from multiple accounts in one app) and will support Microsoft Office documents.

Now some things I don’t like about it. From a school’s perspective I like the Fire at $200 but would love it at $150. Of course, who is to say that won’t happen in a year or so? I mean take a look at the Kindle. When it first debuted that little gem cost 400 big ones and now is selling for a very modest $79 (cheaper than an iPod Nano folks). The name needs to go too. Fire, I mean come on. The whole name: The Amazon Kindle Fire. We might as well throw in a title and senior at the end: Dr. Amazon Kindle Fire Sr. It’s a little much, but I think I can get over it. I also don’t care so much for the design and the glossy screen. As a teacher or student glare can be a pain. A matte finish (maybe a little more expensive) but may be worth the extra cash. Overall though, I think the Kindle Fire is a MUCH better choice for schools and students than the iPad.

You can pop on over the Amazon to preorder yours today or get more information.

NOTE: I pretty much only compare to the iPad because . . . well, what else is there to really compare it to?

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About Patrick Cauley

I teach middle school technology and love to play around with tech and teach students and colleagues alike. You can read my blog at www.itbabble.com
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7 Responses to The Kindle Fire – This is THE choice for schools right now

  1. John McCarthy says:

    Is there a babble icon for my kindle to launch my app?

  2. HillaryC says:

    My question is, how can I use the Kindle Fire with my interactive whiteboard? Are there as many options for academic apps as the ipad? I teach second grade and want to incoporate a tablet device into my classroom to enhance the technological experience of the interactive whiteboard and of course learning.

  3. Pingback: The Kindle Fire for your school? | Technology in the Classroom

  4. themarque says:

    Useless for schools. I work at a school and we ordered 12. I am sitting here right now trying to get them to work but they wont…won’t work because they do not support proxies, which, about 98% of schools in the nation use!

    • Oh man, I forget that not all Android software have proxy support. That is an excellent point and one that I definitely forgot to consider and it certainly makes it a deal breaker. I think I feel a retraction coming on. As for browsing what about using the Firefox app. It has proxy support (for the app only) but it might be a start. Anyway, good luck with the Fire and besides the proxy issue, how is everything else?

  5. Pingback: The Kindle Fire – This is THE choice for schools right now | Instructional Technology in Middle School | Scoop.it

  6. Omar Ghosn says:

    People, for Patrick to say that the new Kindle Fire may be better than the iPad is HUGE! I think he may be filling ill, or the Kindle Fire has really knocked his socks off! We’ll see 🙂
    In all seriousness the device is a game changer. It may not be as souped up as the iPad but it definitely gives you the best of both worlds. Tablet functionality with a sub-$200 price tag! I wonder how many schools will set their classrooms ablaze with the Kindle Fire (ooo, that was a bad pun)

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