So were you one of the millions of people who got a Kindle Fire for Christmas? Want to use it as more than just an ebook reader? Cinda Rose, The West Valley Home Team and MacWin Consulting are going to spend the next month or so testing the Fire out and specifically using it for "Mobile Real Estate". I am not suggesting that the Kindle Fire is an iPad replacement or "iPad killer" but at $199 for the Kindle Fire vs. $499 for the iPad2 I think we need to give it a shot! (Just a side note, I am an Apple guy, both The West Valley Home Team and MacWin Consulting are both run completely on Mac's and "Once you go Mac you never go back!")
The West Valley Home Team uses Google Apps for their email and calendaring (we are not using Google Docs as our sole document platform yet) and unfortunately even though the Kindle Fire is an Android OS device, strangely enough it does not support Google Sync out of the box. The Fire's email app supports Google Apps Gmail accounts via IMAP/POP but if you're looking for push notifications and Calendar/Contacts sync, you'll need something more. There is a work around though! The Amazon Appstore allows you to install a third-party app called Touchdown for sync. The apps free for 30 days in demo mode, but then costs $9.99 which is still acceptable to me.
Once Touchdown is installed it's easy enough to setup sync. Just Tap Next to bypass the "Try Autodiscover" screen, enter your Google Apps email address as the User ID, your password, and then specify m.google.com as the server. On the next screen choose yes to SSL and leave everything else at the defaults. Now your Gmail, Calendar and Contacts will sync. One big problem I have with Touchdown is it only syncs your main Personal Google Calendar (or whatever you have renamed your main Google Calendar to). We have multiple Shared Calendars at The West Valley Home Team and not being able to see each other's is a big drawback. I also seperate my Personal events from my West Valley Home Team events and my MacWin Consulting events by using different calendars for each. I have contacted NitroDesk and searched through their Google Group to see if there are any fixes for this or maybe a future feature but haven't found anything.
If you want Google Talk, (which I don't see us needing, this device will be more for showing and researching MLS listings in Litchfield Park, Goodyear and Avondale on the go, collecting email and signing documents) search the AppStore for IM+ or IMO for two good choices. Like the iPad, there's no native Google Docs client for the Fire but you can login to docs.google.com with the Silk web browser for basic viewing and editing.
The next challenge and my next post is going to be finding an app that allows the Kindle Fire to accept signature on PDF files. More to come...