Nov 21 2013 - Amazon's Fire tablet was a major shakeup to the electronics world by making tablets affordable. What once was just an ereader now offers much more since the move to a tablet. If you happen to know someone who has one of the Amazon tablets, check out my suggestions for some gift ideas to help protect, clean and expand the tablets.
One of the big issues with the original Kindle Fire HD case was the limited use as a stand. Amazon addressed this with their new Origami design for their latest Fire HDX tablet. It has special folds in the cover that allow it to stand the tablet up properly in either the portrait or landscape orientations. The fit is a bit different as well with the edges of the tablet being more exposed for easier control and port access than the original cover. The one downside is that the cover is now made out of polyurethane rather than leather but it is still available in a wide range of color options. Priced around $50.
It should be noted that this cover is designed for the original Kindle Fire HD and not the 2013 revision. The leather case has a remarkable feel and fits the tablet very snug so that it won't slide out at all. Like the iPad, the case features a magnet that will sleep and wake the tablet when the cover is closed. Ports and buttons are fitted into the case to allow easy use of the power and volumes switches while allowing the great speakers to shine through. The only real downside to the case is that it only has a single standing position which is a bit limited as it tends to keep it at a high angle that is good for viewing but certainly not for typing. Priced around $45.
If you happen to know someone that might happen to have the original Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablet, this is the case that you want to get for it. The leather case provides a snug fit for the tablet that does an excellent job of protecting the tablet while not getting in the way of the speakers and also acting as a basic stand for the tablet when it is folded back. Priced around $55.
One way that Amazon keeps the prices low on the Kindle Fire HD tablet is to limit the number of accessories that ship with them. One such accessory that is missing is a power adapter. Instead of providing an AC adapter to charge the tablet, buyers must rely on connecting the tablet's USB cable to a computer. This is relatively slow at charging the tablet and not very useful if you don't have a computer around to connect it to. The Kindle PowerFast is essentially an AC to USB power adapter that can be used for more than just the Kindle devices but it is relatively compact and specifically meant for the tablets. (Note that this is included with Kindle Fire HDX tablets.) Priced around $20.
Touchscreens are incredibly easy to use but they do have their drawbacks. First, the screen can get dirty very quickly from the oils on our fingers that get placed on the glass. Second, people with larger hands may have difficulty getting precise placement on the screen, especially smaller higher definition screens like the Kindle Fire HDX. A stylus is a specialized sort of pen or pointing device that are used to mimic the capacitive nature of human skin for touchscreen displays. The styles are quite diverse from standard looking pens to ones that look like paint brushes. Prices range from as little as $10 to over $100 but most tend to be around $30
The smaller screens of the Kindle tablets are not the most conducive to writing, whether it is an email or a novel. After time, the small virtual keyboard will become difficult if you have to write more than a few sentences. There are plenty of Bluetooth keyboards on the market that are compact but many just aren't very useful for typing on which is the whole point over the virtual keyboard. The i-rocks Slim and Compact Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard is a nice compact size that is affordable yet still provides a nice typing surface. It is a bit more compact than the more expensive Apple keyboard but still much larger than the Kindle Fire which is something to consider. Priced around $39.
Tablets feature touchscreens which obviously means that users put their hands all over them. With this comes the collection of dirt and oils from our hands. Eventually, they cause the images on the displays to cause glare or reflections especially in bright sunlight. A good cleaning cloth is invaluable for keeping the glass clean such that it provides a pristine picture for reading, watching or playing. The 3M microfiber cloth is designed to work with electronics and their displays. This makes it particularly well suited for cleaning the glass surfaces of touchscreen tablets like the Kindle. Prices range from a few dollars to $15 based upon size.
While Amazon Prime is a very good streaming video service for owners of the Kindle, it still doesn't have quite as much as the number one streaming company, Netflix. Netflix also offers streaming services to the Amazon tablet via a native application on the Amazon Application store. To fully use it, you must be a subscriber of the streaming service which is priced at $7.99/month. Gift subscriptions are offered by the company in increments of one, two, three, six and twelve months. This is for the streaming only service but it can be used on other devices and computers but only one at a given time.
Amazon is a content provider as much as it is an online retailer. They offer books, music and video all from their storefront. In addition to this, they also offer Amazon Prime that is very beneficial to Kindle owners. It can be used for streaming TV and movies as well as borrowing books. The service is available for $80/year. Amazon gift cards can be used to pay for this service or purchasing specific media items. In addition, the gift card money can also be used to remove the ads that help subsidize the cost of the Kindle tablets. Even if your recipient may not use it for any of these, they can purchase just about anything from the largest online retailer