The Kindle Fire is ready to take the world by storm when it is released next month. It is already SO popular that Amazon has reportedly upped the production numbers significantly. The interface looks great. The combination of 8GB of storage (with about 6GB available to the user) is enough for 80 apps, plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books. That isn’t anything to sneeze at, but it is not a tremendous amount of storage, and the Fire doesn’t have an expansion slot. [I’m comparing it to the iPad, whose capacity STARTS at 16GB and goes up to a whopping 64GB!] Thankfully, Amazon is leveraging their Cloud Storage to compensate for the diminutive amount of storage.
That’s all good and well; the Fire will work just fine for people who use the device at home or work where WiFi is readily available. And that is key – places where they “have WiFi available”. It is key because the Fire doesn’t have 3G connectivity built-in.
None of this is an issue until you consider this post from Gizmodo: iPads are Why Your Hotel WiFi Sucks and Might Stop Being Free. Yes, the proliferation of WiFi sucking devices like the iPad are killing the current “pipes” hotels have in place. The result is, at best, slow connectivity. Worse, hotels might find themselves needing to provide tiered WiFi with fast speeds costing a bundle. And it is already happening – Elana and I spent time in Atlantic City at the Borgata Water Club this summer. WiFi was advertised as free, but that was for something akin to dial-up. If you wanted usable speeds you had to pay … a lot.
Combine this with the Fire’s reliance on Cloud storage for most of what it can do and … something tells me that people are going to love their Kindle Fire, but only up until they are on a trip. Now before you go slamming me as an Apple fan-boy let me point out that, I ordered a Fire and not for the purpose of ripping it down. I WANT it to be great. I loved the BlackBerry PlayBook’s hardware, and this will combine that hardware with Amazon’s finesse and ecosystem. But a WiFi-only device with limited capacity, when combined with hotels throttling bandwidth is not a good combination. People want something that “just works”, and while the Fire will do that right out of the box, it may not fare as well on the road. You KNEW there was an Achilles Heel to the Fire, and something tells me this just might be it.