Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kindle Flame Out

I got a Kindle Fire for xmas in '11, and as a simple web surfing tool, it seemed to work fine.
But then I went and got the unreasonably intrepid idea that I might want to use it to 
display my art portfolio. After all, the Fire has a nice form factor, if only an average screen.

So I uploaded, via USB, a bunch of high resolution images to the Gallery.
When I went to view them on device, much to my dismay, they appeared awful.
None of the images are acceptable at screen resolution, with banding in gradients and
poor antialiasing. Others images, with high frequency data such as hair, were un-viewable.

Seems that somebody thought it would be a good idea to compress ALL images that are
uploaded to the Kindle Fire.
This should not be confused with the requirements placed on Kindle book manufactures.
It seems reasonable to require book makers to keep their graphic file sizes to a minimum,
as they are being downloaded to be viewed.

But to place this restriction on users that want to view their own photos (any high res graphic)
on their own device, is truly a bazaar design choice.
Its not that I expect the Kindle Fire to address the needs of artists specifically, as we are not
their target market. But personal photography from phones has become so popular,
one would think that a device like this would at least offer the user the option of
turning off the compression.

As for the results, they are so poor, it's embarrassing to show your art on this device.
(the text "THE" in brown was left in to show you that the photo of the Kindle is in focus)

Dang, takes me back to the late '80's ... with a shiver.

If you are an artist, get an iPad Mini.
But don't ever show your portfolio on an iPhone (or any phone).
Even though the iPhone does not destroy your images, it's just too small
for the majority of the population, and professionals dont appreciate you
making them work that hard to view your work.