Thanks, but I’ll pass
Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
* A few years back, I wrote that I was really getting tired of the iPhone. It wasn’t the phone itself that bugged me, it was Apple’s paternalism when it came to their apps that honked me off.
I much preferred Google’s approach with its Android system. You wanna develop an Android app? Go for it. Google won’t stop you. It’s a more open, “Internet” approach, as opposed to Apple’s nearly closed system.
* So, when Amazon announced recently that it had developed a new “Fire” phone based on the Android platform, I was really excited. Some of the bells and whistles, like 3-D imagery, tilt to scroll and easy Amazon purchases looked pretty cool to me. Amazon’s Kindle Fire has received some pretty solid reviews, so I figured the new phone would build on that.
Finally, I thought, a phone that could compete with the iPhone and even best it. I was all set to jump ship.
And since I occasionally write about tech here and have a tech feed on the page, I reached out to AT&T (the sole mobile provider for Amazon’s Fire) and asked if they had a review program. They did, and I received the phone yesterday - several days after the big guys were given their own review phones.
* I like the way the phone feels in my hand. It’s slim and has a bigger screen than my iPhone. The display looks cool, and it doesn’t take long to figure out the mechanical differences between the two phones. The Fire can also display all your apps on a single page, which saves lots of time scrolling through to find the app you want to use.
I use several apps in the course of my days and weeks. And that’s the real problem with Fire. Amazon has walled off their phone from existing apps. Android apps won’t work on it. Google’s YouTube app is locked out, as is the Google maps app. And none of the apps I use the most are currently available, and I’m not sure if they ever will be.
Yes, Apple tightly controls who can make apps for its system, and I don’t like living in that world. But the iPhone is in such wide use that there are quite a lot of apps available. Amazon? Not so much.
* So, I’ll be sending my test phone back to the company. My iPhone screen is badly cracked and my AT&T contract is up, so I gotta find a new phone soon. It won’t be the Fire.