All good questions. I can answer some now and will post answers to the others when I confirm.
() As far as viruses/malware/etc. is concerned, one should distinguish between attacks meant to harm your device and those designed to harvest personal information about you. Though there is much discussion of Android devices being the target of new attacks as the use of the OS increases, I'm rather skeptical. (Much of the information comes from those who sell software designed to "protect" systems from such viruses.) If you use the device as it was meant to be used, i.e. not rooted and not hosting software from unknown sources, I don't think there's much to be worried about. What you do have to worry about is providing personal information for "contests" and how the email addresses your wife submits might be used. But in that, even the iPad is a potentially vulnerable device. (It's worth noting in this context that I'm amazed how concerned people are about supplying information like a credit card number over the internet yet will go to a restaurant and hand their card to a waiter/waitress and never think twice.)
() The Kindle Fire does not include a usb to mini-usb cable in the package. I haven't gotten around to digging up such a cable in my house to test it yet but I'll be doing that in the next few days. Once I do, I think I'll find what I know to be the case for other Android devices, i.e. you can transfer images to the data storage (recognizing that we're not talking about a huge amount of stuff. I don't expect to find that an un-rooted KF can host external storage as if it were part of the Android OS.
() As far as browsing/blogging/entering contests is concerned, keep in mind several points. The screen small. Not as small as a cell phone, but small. Accessing desktop websites is possible but there will be much more "scoping around" than on a larger display. Blogging and entering contests will call for entering data. I don't do much of that even on the iPad. I prefer the dual 23 inch monitors sitting in front of me now. And when I do use the iPad for that, I have to use my bluetooth keyboard about 99% of the time. I hate onscreen keyboards. But if your wife isn't as picky as I am and can deal with the small form factor, she'll be fine.
I'm careful about credit card use in general. One of the pluses of iPad and other mobile devices: You can easily check your credit card account at any time, lol.
drb: I haven't loaded any movies or photos to KF. For my uses, I'd find the KF very limiting for those, because there's limited storage. YMMV. Cloud isn't reliable enough for my uses for those.
I'd also not buy KF for heavy Web typing. I find myself hitting the wrong keys on KF more often than not. I can do better on iPhone or iPod touch. Must be the keyboard design, plus my fingering (I'm petite and have small hands, though). Again, YMMV.
It wouldn't hurt to buy one and have your wife try it out, then return if she's not happy with it, if iPad is out of budget.
From what you described of her uses, I'd save up for an iPad instead and make her much happier.
Thanks jsh1120. The contest entry forms are limited to name, email, maybe phone and address. My wife knows not to provide any other information.
Just this morning, she lost a blog she wrote because I've got anti-virus & anti-spyware loaded on the laptop. That happens to her occasionally and I feel bad about it. But, she knows what happens when the thing gets infected. We don't use it for much else.
The small screen is my biggest concern. And apparently, no ability to add an external keyboard (unless the USB connection can be used for that too).
I'm looking at other tablets too. But most of the larger ones are almost twice the cost of the KF and the reviews are not too good.
We tried to use the iPad for her contests, but a surprising number use Flash.
drb, you and I posted at the same time, so you might not have seen my last post.
If Flash is important, along with considerable typing, your wife probably would be better off with a netbook or notebook, with good virus protection.
Thanks for the help kaykaykay. A netbook is just a small laptop and my wife is already using the laptop. I would like to get her an android tablet so we don't have to worry about the virus issues and she won't have compatibility issues. I guess I'll keep looking. Thanks for the advice.
Word was last year that Amazon would put out a bigger, better tablet this year, so maybe check or wait and see?
Originally Posted by drb_52
Thanks for the review, jsh.
Originally Posted by jsh1120
I will continue to resist buying one (it's not always easy) and save my money for the next generation iPad. ;)
Strangely I find it easier to resist buying one when I'm fiddling with it in the store than when I'm reading about it. I don't think Amazon has perfected their reality distortion field yet, it only works at extended ranges.
Since you already have an iPad, you're not missing much unless you want a smaller, kludgier tablet with Android, unless you're the kind of user who would root the crap out of it and turn it into a phaser or something, lol.
Originally Posted by twerppoet
Interesting you say that. I've had the opposite reaction. The KF's available in stores are crippled, unable to access the internet, etc. I was more impressed by one purchased by a friend and the latter impression has held with ours. I think the sample versions in the stores have a prototype version of the OS, not updated, and problematic at best. As noted, though, I can't really see why anyone would want both an iPad and a KF unless it's a case of multiple users in a household or the form factor of the iPad just doesn't work for you when you're on the go. The iPad is still the tablet that rules them all. But there's a very large niche for the KF.
Originally Posted by twerppoet
It would help, of course, if the iPad were not such a PITA for multiple users to access. I've noted before that my biggest disappointment with the iPad was the lack of support for individual user accounts. The KF doesn't fully support that functionality but it comes much closer than the iPad (and that was a complete surprise to me.) Along that line, my wife noticed this evening that when she opened a book on her KF it informed her that the book was being read on her other Kindle. It then asked if she would like to change the page to the stopping point on the other Kindle or retain her place. Very slick if more than one person is using the same account with different devices to read the same book. Even slicker was the fact that since the Kindle cannot determine one's actual location, her KF provided information about the point where the other Kindle on her account had reached in Greenwich Mean Time.
I admit, if I got it, it would just be a toy. I've always had a weakness for gadgets. After the first week it would probably end up buried under a pile of books or other less identifiable debris. ;)