I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoy using Amazon’s latest Kindle Fire tablet, the HDX 8.9.
It’s amazingly light (13.2 ounces, not even a pound!), fast (a 2.2GHz Snapdragon processor), with a responsive touch screen and great screen quality. Plus it has goodies like front- and rear facing cameras, surround sound, and the battery lasts forever. It’s a joy to play with.
Jump straight to the photos showing what it’s like to use the Kindle Fire HDX tablet for work>>
But for the past few weeks, I’ve been trying — mostly unsuccessfully — to use this tablet for work, not just play. By work I mean email, creating and editing documents, backing up documents to Amazon’s built-in cloud service, and sharing them with my main work computer, a MacBook Pro.
I’ve been testing the Fire HDX as a work machine because Amazon has added a whole bunch of enterprise-friendly features to it, like support for corporate email, a bunch of security options and, most importantly, the ability to share documents with my work computer via the cloud.
Amazon upgraded the HDX to go after an area where the Apple’s iPad has been killing it: work tablets. Over 90% of tablets in the enterprise are iPads and nearly all Fortune 500 companies are using iPads, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook says.
That’s a potentially huge market for a Kindle with its low price, $US379.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
The easiest part of using this tablet for work was setting up email. I Just put in my email and password. Worked perfectly.
Enterprise users can also easily add Microsoft Exchange email accounts, though they might need some info from their IT department to do that.
Downloading documents as email attachments worked well. It even recognised when I had already downloaded the attachment and 'restored' it.
You can also encrypt your files so no one without your password could see them if you lost your device.
By default, you can view files on the Fire HDX, but not create or edit them, particularly spreadsheets. Not even with Google Docs in the browser. Silk, the Fire's browser, is a mobile browser. Google restricts features for mobile browsers. For instance, it won't let you add more columns to a spreadsheet.
I had to buy an app, OfficeSuite Pro 7 by Mobile Systems, to create spreadsheets or edit documents. It costs $US15.
Sharing documents created on the Kindle with other devices, like my work PC, was another story. This is supposed to be easy using Amazon's cloud drive.
After the cloud was set up on my Mac, I tried to share a document from my Kindle. But the Kindle wouldn't let me put the document I created on it into the cloud. It offered no option for that.
So I used the Mayday button. Very cool. Stephanie appeared in a Skype-like window. She couldn't figure out how to share my file to the cloud, either.
She connected me to the cloud help experts. This kind of tech support was audio-only through the Kindle. That person was stumped, too.
In the end, the answer was: 'No, you can't put documents you create on the Kindle into Amazon's cloud.' You can email them if you need to share them or access them from another device.
My conclusion: This is a great tablet for people who want to mostly play and do some email and occasional work.
Or don't plan on creating many documents on this device.
Or are fine with sharing documents through email instead of the cloud.
It's especially good for those who want a high-definition tablet at an affordable price.