Answering Your Kindle Fire Questions

With the release of both the Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch this week, I’ve been a little busy with my “normal” life as well as playing with these new devices.  I still have a lot to learn on the Kindle Fire, but what I have been able to play with so far has been fun; with a slower week next week due to the US Thanksgiving Holiday. I should have some time.

I’ve received a lot of questions about the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Touch based upon the reviews I posted, via email, the blog interface, as well as the Amazon web pages of the review post.  I’ve tried to answer a lot of the shorter ones, but I am behind.  I am going to try and answer as many of the Fire questions as I can in this post, which will probably be a continuing series.

If you missed the reviews, here is a quick link to them:

 

Can you create / edit Word or text documents? Can you create / edit Google docs?

Yes, you can.  I have  a program / app called Office Suite Pro that allows me to create, edit, view Word and Excel files, manage Google docs, and view Power Point and PDF files.  I got it for free about two weeks before the Fire came out, and now it is $14.99 – you can click here or type in http://amzn.to/vUr3cA into your computer’s web browser to see it. 

It does an ok job, but let me first state I haven’t used it that much or tried to give it a massive spreadsheet to crunch: I like to keep work and entertainment separate, and I don’t see myself (at least for now), using the Fire for spreadsheets and word processing.  That opinion could certainly change one day.

 

How hard is it to do email on the Fire, and can I interface with Microsoft Exchange email?  Can you use Outlook with the Fire?

Setting up my main Google email account was a snap – it took less than a minute to type in the information, but it did take about 10 minutes to import all of my contacts (there are over 1,800 of them).  Creating, replying, and forwarding email is also an easy process and the interface looks good.

Concerning Microsoft Exchange email – what is typically used by most corporations to manage a company’s email network – can be done on the Fire, also.  I have used an app called Exchange by Touchdown on my DROID phone for two years with no problems, and it is something our picky IT department at work likes (that’s saying a lot).  There is a Touchdown app for your fire – click here or type in http://amzn.to/tcBIYC into your computer’s web browser to see it, and it is $9.99 on the Amazon website.  Interesting to note, this is $10 less than what I paid for the phone version as Amazon has it discounted.

Outlook per se is not supported with the Fire, but if you use the Touchdown application I mentioned above it looks a lot like Outlook.

 

Why are you telling us about all of these apps for the Fire that cost money – isn’t this blog about free stuff?

Yes, I am going to still focus in on the free material, especially a concentration of free books.  However, don’t you want to learn about some of the whistles and bells to make your Fire experience better? 

There are hundreds of free apps for your Fire in the Amazon app store.  Amazon also has a free app of the day, where they will make an app that costs several dollars available for free for a 24 hour period.

To see the app store, either click here or type in http://amzn.to/theappstore into your computer’s web browser: I highly recommend you bookmark this link.

If you clicked this link, look at the left-hand menu item.  As I type this on my computer, look for the sixth menu item down called “Free Apps.”

 

Can you watch YouTube videos on the Fire?

Yes, you can – you just need to have a wireless connection to your Fire.

 

Can you use Facebook and play games on te Fire?

Absolutely!

 

Why wasn’t the Fire offered with free 3G like a regular Kindle?  What a ripoff!

I don’t know why a 3G version wasn’t offered with this release.  When it’s ready, it will probably by 4G or 5G. 

However, I can speculate: when the original Kindles were offered with free 3G, the thought process probably was it can’t cost that much to send a book over the cellular network: books don’t take up that much bandwidth.  With the Fire, it’s receiving books, emails, games, pushing your turns with Words with Friends, surfing the Internet, downloading huge movie files, etc.  That costs money to send it over a cellular provider’s network.  Just like the iPad, you can have free WiFi; or you can pay a monthly fee to AT&T / Verizon for 3G.  I imagine a 3G version will be out by summer of 2012 (don’t hold me to it, though).

 

Have you tried the Fire with the Cloud yet?

For those of you who don’t know what the “Cloud” is, imagine it as the computer hard drive that holds your Amazon-purchased content (books, songs, movies).  The answer is yes, I have – I can see my files on the Cloud and with two pushes of the screen I can start downloading it to my Fire.  I’ve done that with purchased apps, songs, and books with no problem.

 

I can’t believe you said you probably won’t read books on the Fire!

I don’t know what I am going to do long-term.  The Kindle is constantly with me, and I like the eInk reading experience.  I sit in front of a computer most of the day: my eyes need a break!

I also read outside a bit, and the eInk screen of the regular Kindle is easier for me to read in a brighter environment.

I have read you can convert the text display to invert to a black background with white text.  I haven’t tried that yet, but I will give it a shot.

 

Do I need to be near a wireless source in order to surf the web or check email?

Yes, you do – you can’t connect to the Internet without a wireless source.

 

Amazon’s app store is limited as compared to the Android app store maintained by Google.  Can I change it and be able to purchase apps in the Android format from others in addition to Amazon?

Yes, you can.  I will be the first to raise my hand and say I am not the expert on how to do it, but one of the best explanations I have read (complete with a video) was on the Liliputing website.  Before I tell you the link, please be aware I am not condoning it (although it sounds great).  You can read the article by clicking here.

 

Why doesn’t the Fire have text-to-speech?

I don’t know, but I’d be willing to bet you some developer will build an app for this feature.

Hope that helps, and have a great weekend!

Michael

Want to have this blog sent wirelessly to your Kindle vs. reading it on your computer? Try out the free two-week subscription!  Click here for the Amazon page for Free Kindle Books Plus a Few Other Tips.

Looking for more or a reliable source of free books for your Kindle?  Click here for my “Free Kindle Books and How to Find Them book (updated November 2011 for the release of the Kindle Fire!).

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Kindle Tips, Misc. and Random Stuff

2 responses to “Answering Your Kindle Fire Questions

  1. Sharon Motley

    Thank you for sharing information concerning the Kindle Fire. It was helpful in making up my mind in getting one. I have one on order and can’t wait to give her a try. I noticed in reading what a Kindle Fire can do, downloading library books was not mentioned. Can the Fire download library books? I may have overlooked this feature on the Amazon website.

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