Soon but not quite yet
Not long ago I wrote a post full of glee, a post full of promise and a post full of financial responsibility. I titled it The Kindle Fire – This is THE choice for schools right now. Heck I even called out Apple’s behemoths the iPad and the iPad2 and said the Kindle Fire is better than those for schools. To be clear, I haven’t even held a Kindle Fire yet and I know the reviews are so-so. Check out Engadget’s review and Gizmodo’s review (both sites are great sources by the way) to see the pros and cons and opinions of people far more qualified than myself.
However, I still feel that what it offers is still a great choice for schools looking to dive into the tablet craze. For the price ($200), you get an awful lot of power and flexibility that could a very useful learning tool in the classroom.
So why am I telling you DO NOT BUY THE AMAZON KINDLE FIRE YET. Read on past the break to get the fiery reason (yes that is a poorly used pun) you should wait.
You see there is a little hiccup that cannot be overlooked and must be taken into account before purchasing one (or a school set). There are no proxy settings on the Kindle Fire (or the new Nook Tablet for that matter). You might be asking yourself Why does that matter and what is a gosh darn proxy setting? A proxy is like a middle man between your school’s web browser and the Internet. It allows your school to help weed out dangerous or inappropriate websites to protect your students. In order to use it you must configure your computer, tablet, netbook, smart phone, etc. to properly communicate with it. Without access to these settings you cannot use that network to get online-period.
So if you cannot access the Kindle Fire’s proxy settings, you will not be able to configure your Fire(s) to use your school’s proxy. In other words there is no way to get online or use any apps that need an online connection. With the Kindle Fire unable to access the Internet it makes it . . . well pretty useless. I need to thank themarque who left this frustrated comment about the Kindle Fire who clued me in on this shortcoming. Did I mention he was frustrated?
I was not aware of this missing feature (though I should have been) at the time I wrote the original post and while I still stand by my statements, I must advise you and others to hold off for a little while but here’s why you should still keep an eye on them. The Kindle Fire runs a version of the Android operating system. The version on the Kindle Fire obviously does not have proxy support, but the latest Android version does . . . and that is hopeful. I honestly believe it is just a matter of time before the Fire will have an update that will give us hard-working teachers access to them there proxy settings. Thus making the Kindle Fire a great tool for classrooms. The problem is, I’m not sure when that will happen. It could be in a few weeks, a few months, or even next year, but I am sure it will happen. When it does, I’ll let you know! In the meantime, stay strong themarque and I empathize with your frustrations.