The Kindle Fire, or How Apple Probably Lost My $400

Four years ago, I fell in love with the iPod Touch. I had been so envious of my few iPhone-toting friends that Summer, so my heart leapt when I saw that I could have that same experience without having to pay for a pricey data plan each month. Besides, I needed a new iPod. And I loved that iPod, despite the glitchy software, or having half the apps of the iPhone, or that it cost me over $400 for the 16GB model (which was still too small for me). I loved the iPod Touch so much that when a 32GB version came out a year later, I gladly shelled out another $400+ dollars just so I could have my entire music collection with me at all times. And for the last three years, the iPod was been a regular fixture in my pocket/palm/bedside table, to the point that I can hardly imagine my life without it.

But for the past six months, it’s been I’ve desperately needed a replacement. The iOS4 software has once again made the device a glitchy mess, with apps crashing on a daily basis (some of them no longer run at all). To make matters worse, my iPod no longer syncs with iTunes, so all my music purchases since then are confined to my laptop. But with an iPod refresh imminent, I’ve waited patiently for Apple’s latest and greatest PMP, even if it meant throwing down yet another $400 bucks.

I think Amazon may have just stolen my money from Apple though.

Amazon’s new color Kindle – the Kindle Fire – is a very compelling device, especially as a iPod Touch alternative. It has less than half the hard drive space as my original Touch, but it makes up for this by providing access to Amazon Cloud Player, which has been hosting my entire library of songs for several months now. In addition, that 7-inch screen (which I’ve always thought was a good size for tablet computers) looks like it would be amazing for watching Netflix. browsing the web, reading a graphic novel, or playing a few rounds of Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies.

And the price is just right; at $200, I’ll be spending half of what I would for another iPod Touch. It’s definitely less portable than the Touch, but for what I’ll be primarily using it for (i.e. media consumption), I think it’ll be a better overall experience.

I’m also quite infatuated with the Kindle Fire’s UI, but that might be partly because I’m so bored with the iOS interface. I really hope they give it a major facelift with iOS6; it definitely needs one.

I’ve already pre-ordered my Kindle, which is suppose to arrive on November 15. It’s a month and a half a way, but after waiting so long for new iPods, this wait is pie levels of easy. You can definitely look forward to hearing me gush about the device when I get it.