Fixing the Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire (or my enthusiasm for it) hardly needs any introduction on this blog. Even 9 months later, I find that I’m using Amazon’s mini tablet on a nigh daily basis. It’s far from perfect though, and with Google’s Nexus 7 making waves and rumors of a mini iPad starting to surface, Amazon is gonna have to bring their A game if they want to stay competitive. We all know that the next Kindle will have improved specs – better processor, more RAM, etc., etc. – so I don’t feel the need to belabor those details. So Mr. Bezos – from one Jeff to another – here are a few ideas I’ve had for how to make the Kindle Fire even better.

Make the Screen Beautiful 

I’ve always thought that the Kindle Fire had a pretty awesome screen, but once I started using my HTC One X, I began to see its flaws. Compared to HTC’s 720p display, the Kindle screen is full of jagged edges, blurry text, washed-out colors, and just generally leaves much to be desired. For the Kindle Fire 2, up the resolution to at least HD quality (or even Retina Display levels if possible). Also, if you could laminate the screen like on the One X and iPhone, that would be amazing.

Give Us More Storage Space

The current 8GBs of internal storage is ridiculously small. I know the idea is that I should be streaming everything, but that’s just not a realistic scenario for my lifestyle. I don’t necessarily want SD card storage (which sounds like an extra hassle), but how about doubling the standard hard drive to 16GBs, eh Amazon? In a perfect world, I’d like the Kindle Fire to have a 32GB or even 64GB hard drive, but I’ll take what I can get.

Add Some Buttons and Fix the Current Ones

Currently, the Kindle Fire only has one button, which is used to power it on and off. In terms of minimalism, it’s great; in terms of usability however, I think the tablet could stand to have an extra button or two. Most importantly, the next Kindle Fire NEEDS volume buttons. This was something Apple learned with the first iPod Touch, so how could you make the same mistake so many years later?!

Also, can we do something about the power button? Either relocate it or make it into a slider. Right now it’s too easy to accidentally shut off the device.

Update the OS to Version 2.0

The Kindle Fire’s software, which is based on Android 2.3 “Gingerbread”, gets the job done, but there are a lot of places that could use some polish. First and foremost, the underlying base for the OS should be upgraded to Android 4.0, which has a ton of improvements under-the-hood that would make the overall experience of using the Fire substantially better. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had many times I’ve had my Kindle slow down and stutter when trying to navigate around the various Amazon stores. Having experienced Android 4.0 first-hand on my phone, I can attest to significantly this upgrade would improve the Kindle Fire.

Secondly, I feel like if Amazon is going to so thoroughly skin the Android experience, they really need to go with it. I love the bookshelf theme with the carousel at the top displaying my recent activity, but there are many places where the Android seams are still showing (like on the uninstall app screen, for instance). Make Android your own! One idea: require app developers to make special icons for Kindle Fire-only apps (i.e., anything called “Kindle Fire Edition) similar to the ones you created for the Audible and Pulse apps. They look awesome and fit the motif you’re going for much better than the standard app icons. Consider doing the same for your video content.

Finally, and I can’t emphasis this enough, MAKE YOUR G–D— MUSIC PLAYER USABLE!! Google Music is an amazing service that’s doing the exact same thing you are, so look their for inspiration (or outright steal ideas if need be). I buy all my music from Amazon, but I can’t stand how clunky Cloud Player is, especially on mobile. Fix that and you’re golden!

Also, while you’re at it, add in some Bluetooth so I can use some wireless headphones.

Let’s Make This Happen, Jeff Bezos!