eBook reader-cum-tablet? A Kindle Fire get-over saga.


This summer, I got my son a Kindle Fire for his 9th birthday.

He had given us a short list of his birthday wishes.

Mind you, his list was fairly perfunctory.

Library card. Library card? Live a little kid!

New bike. Nah B! Your current bike is perfectly fine.

Kindle Fire. Hmm…I can do this.

I was impressed by my son’s third request.

His sister had requested (and received) an Amazon Kindle for her last birthday.

She really seemed to be into reading books, and I suppose, this inspired his own interest in the eReader.

Seeking to support my son’s intellectual pursuits, we hurriedly ordered the device and, beaming, presented it to him for his birthday.

But once it was in his grubby paws, I realized that we had been hoodwinked.

The desire to read electronic books (like his sister) was the furthest thing from his mind.

Even though we had admonished him to avoid ordering anything without consulting mommy or daddy first, he found a loophole – free apps.

It wasn’t really ordering if they didn’t cost anything was it?

So almost immediately, he began downloading all kinds of games, and apps and game apps.

There was nary a eBook among the email confirmations that flooded my account.

All hours of the day and night, he was either glued to the device or ordering apps like a maniac.

It was only as my son morphed into a zombie, that I first saw the Kindle Fire commercials.

As drool escaped the corners of my son’s mouth, illuminated by the glow from the device, that I realized that this little bugger had gotten completely over on us!

The signs were there, but I missed them.

I hadn’t put two and two together.

You see, he’s always asking to play Angry Birds or some other innocuous game on my iPad.

And I repeatedly say ‘no.’

His request for the Kindle Fire was an end-around to my opposition.

A thinly veiled way of getting a tablet, to play games and such, without raising any suspicion or alarm.

The Kindle was certainly NOT to read.

This experience has me re-examining this whole eBook reader phenomenon.

I used to think all eReaders were just that – readers.

First, there was the Kindle (2007).

Then the Nook (10/09).

Sony also had some skin in the game with their readers.

There were black-and-white versions, color versions, backlit versions, versions with keyboards and versions without.

And then came the iPad.

And the eReader game was forever changed.

Sure a tablet device was good for reading, but the iPad offered so much more.

Apps. The web. Light computing.

It was truly a device of the future.

Not wanting to be left out, Kindle released the Kindle Fire, with apps and internet surfing baked right in.

Of course, Barnes & Noble followed up with their Nook Tablet, which offered the same functionality.

eReaders went from simple monochrome blah to web surfing, wifi/3G connected funky, combining the connective utility of a tablet with the pure function of an eReader.

And what I initially thought was my son’s simple request to get his read on, has become a straight tablet coup!

All I know is that the lines between eReaders and tablets have been forever obscured…

And that my son is slick.

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Filed under iPad, mobile, opinion, technology

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