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What Can a Kindle Fire Do?


It’s Not Just An E-reader

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the Kindle Fire and what it can do. Because of its name, it’s association with the Amazon Kindle Store and past iterations of the Kindle e-book reader, many people think of it as simply an e-book reader. It’s far more than that.

It’s a fully functioning tablet computer running the Android operating system (a customized version of Android 2.3 or a customized version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the HD models) and it’s one of the more reasonably priced tablets on the market today.

It’s a great e-book reader as one would expect, but it can do far more besides just reading e-books. It would be more aptly described as a media tablet.

So What Can the Kindle Fire Do?

Because the Kindle Fire is a fully functioning tablet computer, the possibilities are almost infinite. If there’s an app for it, you can do it.

There are literally thousands of apps available for the tablet on the Amazon Appstore For Android. Many of which are capable of being played on the standard Kindle Fire, and the very latest high end games can be played on the Kindle Fire HD. Even very deep and lengthy Role Playing Games such as; Galaxy On Fire 2 HD with it’s 10+ hours single player campaign.

Games aren’t the only apps available for the Kindle Fire. Many apps have far more practical applications. There are finance apps, real estate apps, educational apps, word processor apps, music apps, weather apps, shopping apps. The list is almost endless. There are even apps that can teach you how to pilot a plane.

In fact, it would be easier to answer the question “what can’t the Kindle Fire do?” as that would be a far smaller list and could be summed up in one paragraph. It can’t run Windows or IOS apps, but there is almost always either a ported version of the app, or an app that has the same functionality. It’s the same with games, many games that start their life in Apple’s Appstore, find their way over to the Android operating system very quickly often within a few weeks of their Appstore début.

One minor downside of the Kindle Fire is that it currently has a “locked” bootloader than prevents you from downloading apps from Google Play, which is a huge market place full of even more apps. Hackers have found a way to unlock the bootloader, though as recent rulings have shown in the USA, the legality of this is dubious. Many people will feel though that morally they should be allowed to do what they want with a device they have paid for and own. It’s certainly an interesting topic for discussion.

But aside from the many weird and wonderful functions that the Kindle Fire is capable of by running different apps, many people will be wondering what can the Kindle Fire do fresh out of the box.

Video Playback

The Kindle Fire is a very competent video player. It’s 7 inch screen is more than enough screen for watching a movie on without needing to squint your eyes to see the lead actress. Because you hold the screen in close proximity to your eyes, it actually feels as though you are watching a cinema screen rather than a 7 inch screen. Those who feel that they would like a larger screen to view movies on and read e-books, will be glad to know a 8.9 inch version will be available on the 20th of November and can be pre-ordered now.

The video playback quality is very impressive. Though the file sizes can be relatively small, it can be comparable to watching a Blu-Ray movie because of the screen size.

A typical full-length movie file if you use MP4 format can be anywhere between 300-800mb, with most weighing in at around 400mb. This would allow you to store between 15-20 movies for the 8GB model. The Kindle Fire has 8GB, 16GB and 32GB models available. So at approximately 400MB you will be able to store 35-40 and 75-80 movies respectively on the 16GB and 32GB model, making allowances for the space taken up by the operating system.

This can of course be extended by using the fantastic Amazon Cloud Storage which is free to all Kindle Fire users. The cloud storage is unlimited, so the amount of movies you can store and stream to your device is infinite. It’s worth noting however, that only movies purchased through Amazon can be streamed via cloud storage onto your device. For you own movies you will need to load them onto the device yourself.

If you go for Amazon Prime membership, there will be thousands of movies and TV shows available to be streamed for free. So if you like movies; Prime Instant Video is well worth the money.

Music Playback

The Kindle Fire is a very good music player. The MP3 files available on Amazon are of a very high quality. The dual driver speakers and the headphones provided are very decent. To get the most out of their music, many music junkies will want to invest in a high-quality, top of the range set of headphones or external speakers. But it has to be said, the music playback as standard (through the speakers) is top-notch.

Given a file size of 5MB, the standard kindle will be able to store around 1,600 songs, which is more than enough. Obviously it can be extended to an infinite amount using the cloud storage mentioned earlier.

As An E-book Reader

The file sizes for books are very small, often just a few hundred kilobytes for even the largest novel, so many thousands of books can be stored on the 8GB model. For the 16GB and 32GB model, you would be able to store more books than many humans will read in their entire lives.

Amazon Prime membership will also mean that you can borrow an ebook every month, with a choice of hundreds of thousands of books on offer.

Web Browsing

The Kindle Fire is a very good web browser, thanks to its excellent touch screen. The screen is also large enough to be able to browse without it becoming fiddly. The Silk Browser is a very competent browser, which actually seems to load many web pages better than Apple’s Safari.

Web browsing requires a Wi-Fi connection. 4G LTE Wireless is available on the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ but this is the top-of-the-line model.

To Sum It Up

The Kindle Fire, is possibly the most under-rated tablet around at the moment. It certainly manages to beat other tablets available in its price range. And the answer to the question “what can the Kindle Fire do?” would probably surprise many people, who think it’s just a simple e-book reader.

By Stacy Fordham

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