Both the original Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 are grown up e-readersthat are also great for watching movies and films, browsing the web, sending and receiving email and playing games. You can download and install apps and music, and – yes – read books.
Indeed, with its heavily customised version of Android the Kindle Fire HD is a well-priced full-blown tablet, albeit an Android tablet that is tied in to Amazon’s world. You can buy books, music, games, apps and movies to your heart’s content – but you have to buy them from Amazon. That’s not a problem. Amazon is, after all, pretty well stocked on that score. But it does illustrate the limitations of the Kindle Fire model. If Amazon doesn’t want you to install it, you can’t install it.
There are benefits to this: both the original Kindle Fire HD and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 share an easy-to-use interface. They are entertainment devices designed to be used by just about anybody – regardless of their technical knowledge.
As you might expect finding and reading books using the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is a great experience, even allowing for the extra weight. But you will find some limitations. You can install third-party apps, for instance, but it requires some technical knowledge to run apps from outside of Amazon’s own app store. So although you can watch BBC TV programs on BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD remain conspicuous by their absence.
Movies is another area in which the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9 are slightly hobbled. Amazon wants you to use Lovefilm Instant for movies. To access this you need to sign up for a monthly subscription. That’s all well and good, but it is an extra expense and to use Lovefilm you have to be online (you can’t download films to your device). You can also install the Netflix app and sign up for that service.
And even the web-browsing experience is far from perfect. There’s no general support for Flash, which means some websites don’t work perfectly. Amazon has now included a Flash video player, however, so you can watch video clips embedded on websites. See also Group