Dispatches from the Digital Revolution
By MIKE PICKETT
Don’t get me wrong. Both of these devices are top notch (click here for specs for Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet). I’m sure that they will work beautifully and that the people who buy them will do nothing but sing their praises all the live long day.
Both B&N and Amazon have taken a page out of Apple’s playbook, and made these devices wholly integrated into their respective isolated ecosystems. Kindle Fire owners will get, with their Prime subscription, access to streaming movies and TV shows, a Kindle book a month with the Kindle lending library, and free two-day shipping on anything that they order from Amazon. Nook Tablet, like the Fire, offers a “curated” Android app market and easy access to all of B&N’s ebooks.
And that is exactly why I will not buy one of these devices.
When you buy them, you are making a statement that you are backing that respective company 100 percent. You are buying into their universe.
You can consider me paranoid, but I don’t want any one company to have that much control over my future purchases. Sure, I like Amazon, and I’ve made many purchases there, and I like to browse the B&N stores around town and sometimes buy a book there, but I don’t want to essentially cut off the freedom that I have to do either of those things. I don’t want any company to have such a hold on me that I won’t consider any of their competitors. I want them to work for every purchase I make. That is what makes capitalism work.
Like I said above, this tactic works for Apple, so there’s a good chance it will work for Amazon, and B&N. I don’t own anything from Apple either. If I had to choose between the Fire, Nook Tablet, or the iPad, I would choose the iPad (or I would wait to see if the iPad’s price comes down in the near future, and then buy it). It needs to be pointed out that the Fire and Nook are not tablet computers. They are media tablets. They are great for media, but they can’t replace your laptop. The iPad can, and it can do all of the media stuff too, which is why I would choose it if forced to choose between the three.
But I’m not forced to choose between the three, and neither are you. There are a bundle of Android tablets out there that are cheaper than the iPad, have more capabilities than the Fire or the Nook Tablet, and give you all of the freedom that these three try to restrict. With these devices, you can read ebooks on the Kindle app, the B&N app, and the Google Books app; you can watch streaming movies on Netflix; listen to whatever music streaming service you want; and do most of what you would do on a laptop.
So, if you want to choose consumer confinement, be my guest. But I will choose freedom.