When Apple decided to bring the iPad to market it came to the conclusion that a 9.7-inch screen was the way to go after testing various different sizes and dimension ratios. Steve Jobs later famously declared that a 7-inch form factor was simply too small to be usable, but that didn’t stop the likes of Samsung and RIM from releasing tablets with a screen that size.

Amazon has recently joined the group of companies to release a tablet, and it also went for the smaller form factor for the Kindle Fire. Was that a wise decision?

According to usability fiend Jakob Nielson, Amazon’s tablet is simply too small to be truly useful, lending credence to what Jobs and Apple have been saying for the last two years…

The most striking observation from testing the Fire is that everything is much too small on the screen, leading to frequent tap errors and accidental activation. You haven’t seen the fat-finger problem in its full glory until you’ve watched users struggle to touch things on the Fire. One poor guy spent several minutes trying to log in to Facebook, but was repeatedly foiled by accidentally touching the wrong field or button — this on a page with only 2 text fields and 1 button.

With the iPad’s near 10-inch screen, web pages can be displayed in their entirety, giving users more page on-screen at a larger size than is possible on something with a smaller screen. We’ve not heard of any Kindle Fire users complaining of usability issues yet, but with so many being sold, it is surely only a matter of time.

  • I bought one to try it out and that was the main reason I returned, too small.

  • Anonymous

    I’m an iPad devotee, myself. But I do like the competition out there. It keeps innovation moving along. That’s good for everyone. However, I can’t help but wonder if this mass selling of the new Fire (just before Christmas) won’t show us the true measure of it’s apparent success until AFTER Christmas, when they actually get unwrapped and put to the test. I think that’s when we’ll hear more about the pros & cons. Just a thought.

    • KewlDewd

      good point

    • Jon Garrett

      I can tell you that Ive put mine to the test and it has failed. it does NOT represent the Android experience, its nothing but a glorified e-reader.

      I got one for my wife on black Friday along with an Acer Iconia tab 7 and after 5 minutes with it she told me to return it.

      I think it sells the way apple does, because of the name behind it.

  • To me it seems more like an interface issue that can easily be remedied. The example givin is only a testament to that.

    And that’s why I preder iOS, it seems to be a better tailored experience for touchscreens.

    • Anonymous

      The whole article discusses this in-depth. If the 7-inch form factor is a big success, then web sites and app developers will customize for that size, and things will be peachy. But if not, 7 inch tablet users will be forced in to deciding between full-sized (which works on iPad but not the Fire), or mobile-optimized versions (in which case you may as well just use your smartphone.)

      • Jon Garrett

        users dont have to choose between 7″ or full sized. because unlike iOS, Android tablets come in a variety of sizes. if a 7″ tablet is too small but 10.1″ is too big then you have a 7.7″ an 8.2 and an 8.9 to choose from.

        One thing Prophet Jobs never predicted was how much more popular Android would be over iOS and one of the reasons is it offers users choices, and flexibility. something Jobs would never let you decide for yourself.

      • You seem to have such a grudge towards apple, but isn’t “an iPad” just as much of “a choice” as all tablets are? In the end the os can be a make or break element just as much as screen responsivness or weight or batterylife.

        In that light, the iPad as one of the many tablet choices out there is doing pretty damn good (in reality, pretty much any way of saying it would be an understatement)

      • Jon Garrett

        @ Shu Tse

        grudge, yes. why? because of all the lawsuits. I used to be an apple user but I hate a company like apple that wants a monopolistic control over an entire market.

        everything apple get credit for innovating are things that other companies did long before apple. apple copies others but and refine their innovations but if others to it to apple its “shameless copying” apple has copied everything from the iPhone name which belongs to Netgear since about 1995 to mobile app stores that existed way before apple was a household name to the look and feel of their products which they copied from Braun.

        worse of all is apple fanboys who are the most ignorant and arrogant people on earth whose only rebuttal they can ever make is “oh but apple made them popular” or “oh those devices were ugly” etc etc.

        I still have an iPhone 4, I come here for news of untethered jailbreaks and tweaks but often see stories that make me want to puke.

  • Ernesto Carrillo

    If u read Steve Jobs biography, u will tell why he chose this size n how much effort he put into every single detail. Now to go against him n buy a smaller size tablet, is unreasonable. Trust Jobs. He knows what he was doing.

    • Jon Garrett

      trust jobs, he knows what he’s doing? really, and you’re too stupid to make your own decisions about what works for you?

  • Anonymous

    This is load a crap. Belated SJ, as much as he was a true visionary, also assumed that he knew what is best for everyone. I sold my iPad 2 two weeks after I bought it launch. Simply bcs it was too big. I literraly spent more time on my iPhone and MBP than on it. I just bought Playbook on discount. And while the s/w is absolute crap, the form factor is exactly what I was looking for (hardware design is awesome too)!

    • Jon Garrett

      have you considered the Galaxy tab 7.0plus or the upcoming and very awesome Galaxy Tab 7.7″? it will have a processor and display that are superior to the iPad 2 AND it has expandable memory.

      • Anonymous

        I’m definetly considering 7.0 Plus version. Also, Playbook was recently rooted and we should be able now to use more Android apps…

      • Jon Garrett

        Id rather have a true Android tablet than to have a rooted non-android tablet like the playbook or the HP weOS tablet. there’s no telling what kind of issues you will run into with those kinds. Id rather just spend the money and get a “true-droid” tablet.

      • Anonymous

        Maybe but Playbook costed only $189 before tax… What Android tablet beats the price with same specs?

    • Jon Garrett

      wait for the Asus Transformer to go on sale again, you know it will with the Prime set to launch any day now. on black Friday, BB had the Transformer for $250 and for the extra cost you get a 10.1″ tablet with expansion galore and will get ICS when its released.

      if you want a 7″ tablet then wait for the HTC flyer which will also get another price drop. on black friday, I got the Kindle Fire & Acer Iconia Tab 7 for $199 & $189, my wife didn’t like the Fire so she kept the Iconia Tab. the Iconia is decent for its price and the only fault I find with it is sharp viewing angles but who views their tablet from the side anyway?

  • Anonymous

    This is load a crap. Belated SJ, as much as he was a true visionary, also assumed that he knew what is best for everyone. I sold my iPad 2 two weeks after I bought it launch. Simply bcs it was too big. I literraly spent more time on my iPhone and MBP than on it. I just bought Playbook on discount. And while the s/w is absolute crap, the form factor is exactly what I was looking for (hardware design is awesome too)!

  • Anonymous

    I myself don’t like how big the iPad is, but the Fire is too small maybe a tablet in between 7″ and 10″

    Who makes to sign up?

    • Jon Garrett

      Are you serious? a tablet between 7″ & 10″?!?!? have you been living under a rock? Android tablets are available in sizes 5″, 7″‘, 7.7″, 8.2″, 8.9″, & 10.1

      Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 is not only a size you might like it also has a 1.4ghz dual core processor, a super amoled plus display and expandable memory.

      One of the many advantages of going with Android…..CHOICE.

      • Anonymous

        If you do the math, then the tablet would be 8.5″ is there a tablet out there that size?

      • Jon Garrett

        Not that I know of but seriously, whats the difference (practical) between an 8.5″ vs an 8.2″ or 8.9″ holding it your hands you wont even notice the .3 or .4 difference.

        If you seriously want a mid-sized tablet, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 is sweet but if you can wait, the 7.7 will be amazing.

  • Jon Garrett

    I also remember Jobs saying that phone with screens larger than 3.5″ were “Hummer Phones” and that nobody would want them….next iPhone will have a screen larger than 3.5″ so your prophet is not always right.

  • Gdghgfgjy Ggjffv

    FYI, the Kindle Fire was meant to be an e-reader like the Nook Color