Tag Archives: tablet

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Some thoughts on my new Amazon Fire 7 8GB FireOS 7″ Tablet for $59 at Bestbuy.ca


I saw this in Best Buy the other day, Amazon Fire 7 8GB FireOS 7″ Tablet With MediaTek MT8127 Quad-Core Processor – Black : Android Tablets – Best Buy Canada, and after reading some reviews and other articles (see below), I decided to get one. The $59 price tag had a lot to do with this.

My first thought was to try to use it as much as I could out of the box without making modifications to it. I set it up according to instructions, which were simple. I think you really want to have an Amazon account/userid to do this. I did and so things went smoothly.

The Amazon Fire has a modified version of the Android OS, which means it’s like an Android tablet, but not exactly. Likewise, Amazon has an App store, which is a limited version of the Google Play App store. You can get a number of apps from the Amazon App store, but not everything you can get on the Google Play store.

I wanted this device mainly as a place to consume media. Good news is it runs Netflix, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Mail, Texture and a modified version of YouTube.  I was especially interested in Texture, which allows me to read magazines like New Yorker, Bon Appetit, Wired and others. I have been trying to read them on my phone and the experience was poor. On the tablet, the experience was much better, and the resolution was good. Likewise, YouTube videos are better on the tablet than the phone.

Downsides?  First the device is slow compared to my iPhone 6. You notice it with things like Twitter and Instagram. You don’t notice it for things like Texture because there is more reading time and less scrolling.  It’s not terrible, but it is noticeable if you have a newer device. If you have an up to date phone or tablet, you will notice this.

Another downside is the limited number of apps, especially media apps. I could not get the New York Times, Guardian or CBC app for it. It comes with the Washington Post, not surprisingly.

The browser that comes with it is slow. You cannot download other browsers without hacking the device.

One upside is you can get quite a few apps working for it. I downloaded Remember the Milk (for todos), Simplenote (for notetaking), WordPress (for blogging), Dropbox and more. I mainly want to use it for media consumption, but those things make it better.

To summarize: for $59, I think it is a great device for media consumption and basic functionality. If that’s all you want, I think you’d be happy with it. I’m glad I got it. Some reviewers said it is better to get the Fire 8 or 10, but for the money, I think the Fire 7 is surprisingly good.

P.S.Originally I was going to hack it to make it more like an Android tablet, but for now I think I’ll leave it as it is. If you did want to hack it, here’s some links to articles along that line:

P.S.S. This is not sponsored content.

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With the new announcements, Apple reinforces their affordable line of products


Apple took a turn towards something I was hoping they would do: (relative) affordability. You can see it in this piece from  Business Insider:

Apple introduced an iPhone with a smaller screen on Monday called the iPhone SE. The best way to think about it is as Apple’s current top-of-the-line iPhone specs in a smaller body. It costs $399 without a contract — a surprisingly low price for a new iPhone. …the older iPad Air 2 got a price cut to $399…. While the Apple Watch didn’t get a hardware update, Apple did unveil new nylon bands and cut its starting price from $350 to $299.

I was wondering if Apple was going to try and offer some affordable products or reposition itself as a luxury brand. I am glad to see they went with affordable. There are now lots of products from Apple at a wide range of price points, starting with the iPod (at $59). I have always been a fan of the lower priced iPods, and I am glad to see Apple still offers them. Likewise, the iPad Mini 2 is an excellent tablet and the iMac mini is an excellent computer. Relative to the market, they are priced competitively and yet superior technology. Now the new Watch and the new SE phone join them.

For people who want to spend lots of money, Apple has a product for them. By offering the lower end products, they both force their competitors to offer better products as well as allow more people to have access to their excellent technology.

P.S. I realize for some people, even these relatively low prices are not affordable. In the context of this post, affordable is in context to the rest of the marketplace an Apple product competes within.