The Fire is meant as a consumer device. Connected to the Amazon store. To read books, watch videos and/or movies, listen to music, read magazines, etc. It's not meant to compete with the iPad, and Bezos said that up front. Yes, it only has 8GB onboard storage. Most of the heavy stuff is meant to be streamed. You're not going to be storing mass amounts of data on it. And not all of us care in the least about jailbreaking it or cracking it or rootkitting it or any of that. That's not why we bought it.
I preordered one, got it, and I love it. The box it arrived in did not announce it was a Kindle Fire, it was in a normal Amazon box. I do agree, the lack of external volume controls is awkward. That being said, my 11yo stepson figured the thing out in about 10 minutes and loves it, too. No one that I've let play with it has accidentally powered it off. I have noticed sluggish touch-screen response, but nothing that keeps me from working or reading. Yes, the Amazon app store if limited, but I imagine it will grow modestly. For now, all the major apps that most normal people use are there and available.
I think the only people who were disappointed or mislead were expecting too much. They didn't read the details, they just saw "tablet for a lot less than iPad" and thought it would be something amazing. It's not amazing, but it is completely and totally adequate for what it is meant to do. Seriously, what are you expecting from a $199 device? That says up front that it is a media consumption device? Get real.