I recently purchased a Kindle Fire, replacing my original Kindle, which had seen increasing use over the last few years. Ironically, the Kindle Fire was purchased at a traditional brick and mortar establishment, as I wanted to check out the size and weight of the device prior to purchase. I use the term ironic, as these types of devices may represent another building block in the future demise of the brick and mortar operations selling them. My decision would be Kindle versus Apple iPad, with size, weight and interface key factors.
My immediate take on the Kindle Fire was very positive. It was larger than my original Kindle, but small enough to be considered a book substitute. I found the screen much easier to read than my original Kindle, and it offered all the advantages of a color display. Two major enhancements included the ability to browse the web and to download apps, including very important and useful apps, such as Angry Birds. The web browser works wherever one can find Wi-Fi access, including HotSpots. The Apple iPad was also very impressive, offering greater functionality albeit at a larger size and weight, at about 21 ounces compared to the 14 ounces of the Kindle.
I purchased the Kindle Fire for, selling for $ 199 as of that time, and was on my way. The Kindle Fire is almost like having your own personal public library in the palm of your hand. Many classics are free, or very inexpensive eliminating the need to drive to a bookstore or local library. The Kindle Fire, and sometimes eReaders in general, offer an expansive personal library, allowing users to specifically (or randomly) choose almost any new book sample or classic. Striving to mix in some of the classics with my recent business selections (Blink and Steve Jobs) I also downloaded: Mountain Interval (Robert Frost), Prufrock and Other Observations (TS Eliot), Walking (Thoreau) and The Wreck of the Hesperus Longfellow). These are not entirely random as the appearance of several characters in Woody Allen's movie, Midnight in Paris, provided the catalyst to review some of these works. And that's one of the great advantages of the Kindle, within seconds of hearing about, or thinking about a book or an author, you can be reading a favorite classic or contemporary work.
Amazon also offers a Kindle Owners' Lending Library program ($ 79 per year) which provides a free library of books (currently about 5,000) and access to a free video streaming service with over 10,000 movies and television episodes. It also provides free shipping on Amazon purchases and is essentially a "no brainer" if you purchase a book or more per month, as the estimated costs would be over $ 100 per year to do so.
The Kindle Fire supports web surfing and downloading and streaming of video. I use the former often, but have not yet used the latter. The Kindle Fire, eReaders and tablet type solutions will change future consumption of content. I've seen friends who I would consider "technology laggards" rapidly adopting eReaders and tablets. The convenience of being able to transport a dozen or more books on any vacation or business trip, sample any book before purchasing, changing font size and brightness to accommodate personal preferences and access to a growing online library are just a few of the catalysts driving behavioral changes. Although not all books are yet available on the Kindle, I've seen estimates of 650,000+ and I'm sure this will grow rapidly to accommodate consumer purchasing habits as more people move to eReaders. Bottom line, as of this writing, I think the Kindle Fire is a great solution for almost anyone who likes to read.