Friday, November 25, 2011

Dear Mr. Bezos: May I have some more Google, please.

I was so excited when I heard that Amazon was coming out with a Kindle tablet.   While Mr. Bezos was saying that he would not confirm or deny its release, before it even had a name, before I knew what it would cost,  I was telling anyone who would listen that I was getting one.  I could have blown my budget on an iPad or one of the other perfectly serviceable tablets that were already out.    However, I have a lot of faith in Amazon and I felt sure that if Amazon was making it, it would be worth the wait.  It would not be rushed to release before it was ready.   This would be my third Kindle (I gave my first one to my mom)  and I did not expect to love it any less than the other two.    

But, and you knew that would be one, all has not worked out as I might have wished.   First let me point out that there is much to love about the Fire (as it is now known).   The color touch screen is a thing of beauty.   It is lovely to behold, and responsive (but not too much) to the touch.   Reading knitting magazines on it is a real treat.   My sons (14 &19) find the Amazon App market limited.   I, on the other hand have found (mostly for free) all but one app that I wanted.    Storage is limited but free access to the Amazon cloud negates that.   And let’s face it, at $199, for a color, touch screen, tablet, the price just can not be beat.    It is less comfortable to snuggle up and read on than my earlier Kindles.   I am an avid reader and can fall into a good book for hours at a time.     The Fire is heavier than my Kindle3, and the color screen, while awesome for games & magazines, is a bit of and strain for long term reading.   The thing is that this would be true of any other tablet, regardless of manufacture or price.   As someone who returned the Nook in favor of the Kindle2, I can tell you that nothing beats Kindle’s e-ink for reading comfort.

Prepare yourself because here comes the kicker.    You can not access any of your Google apps on your Kindle Fire.    From what I have read (and I will include links at the bottom), Amazon is blocking access to any Google product that requires signing in.    That covers everything but your basic Google search engine.     For me, this is bad, very bad, maybe even a deal breaker.    Like so many of us, I have multiple computer devices, a desk top, a net-book, a smart phone, an iPod Touch and, now a tablet.   Using Google mail, calendar, contacts, & docs, allows me to access necessary information from anywhere.   As a mom who runs her own home based business, simple, cross-platform; access, is an absolute must have.

With out access to Google, the Fire is just a really nifty toy.  Please Mr. Bezos, stop blocking Google and bring the Fire into the realm of useful technology.

NOTE:  Here are those links I mentioned.

ETA: An email to Amazon tech support revealed that I should be able to get the various Google Apps via the Fire's web browser (Silk).    I had tried that and it did not work.   In searching for an answer to this problem, I came across this web site.    I made the changes suggested to make Silk run faster and now Google & friends loads like a dream.   I still hope that Amazon gets the message and lets Google Apps in, however, I don't hate having to access them via a faster running Silk.

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