Amazon Promises Fixes For Kindle Fire Issues
December 12, 2011

Amazon Promises Fixes For Kindle Fire Issues

Gadget aficionados love a chance to try out the latest and greatest devices from the tech world. However they also know that the first model of any device is more than likely to come with teething issues and the new Kindle Fire is no exception.

Some of the complaints may seem trivial, the off switch is easy to hit by accident, the reader has no external volume control and web pages take a longer time to load than many would like, reports David Streitfeld for the NY Times.

Other issues appear to be a bit more troublesome, such as the lack of privacy on the device with no provision for multiple log-ins with the possibility that your child may accidently wipe your books from the device or change settings that you spent time tweaking to your liking. The touch screen is said to be hesitant and sometimes downright balky.

Usability expert Jakob Nielsen denounced the latest Amazon e-reader, saying it offered “a disappointingly poor” experience. For users whose fingers are not as slender as toothpicks, he warned, the screen could be particularly frustrating to manipulate. “I feel the Fire is going to be a failure,” he said in an interview. “I can´t recommend buying it.”

In a world of gadgets where the Fire tablet has to compare itself to larger, market leading devices, these small annoyances add up and tarnish the shine that new toys promise.

Amazon, however, is not pushing ease of use as its primary feature. Instead the retail giant is pushing a low price and online shopping convenience to gain a foothold into its real revenue plan; to be the first choice for people who wish to purchase books, music and videos online.

According to research firm IHS iSuppli, the $79 Kindle costs Amazon $84 to make, not including research and development, shipping or, with a third-party retailer, the wholesale discount. Add these up, and Amazon might be losing as much as $20 on every $79 Kindle sold at, for example, Best Buy.

However a low initial price will mean little if the device is not making customers happy and acknowledges that it is working on improvements. “In less than two weeks, we´re rolling out an over-the-air update to Kindle Fire,” said Drew Herdener, a company spokesman.

There will be improvements in performance and multitouch navigation, and customers will have the option of editing browser history, CNET´s Steven Musil reports. Amazon has not confirmed, but talk among manufacturers is that updated hardware is coming for the device and one more shot is all the retailer will get, Nielsen said. “If that´s a failure, then the Fire is doomed to the dust pile of history.”

Amazon´s is expected to sell from three to five million Fires this quarter despite some lackluster reviews and return numbers. The device does do one thing well, Nielson concludes. Shopping on Amazon is a breeze. “If I were given to conspiracy theories, I´d say that Amazon deliberately designed a poor web browsing user experience to keep Fire users from shopping on competing sites.”


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