While Amazon's attractively-priced tablet still flies off the shelves, users are starting to realize that the bargain price came with some rather cut corners. With UI issues and too-easy purchasing being complained about, Amazon is promising to fix them with a software update soon.
Buy in Haste, Repent Until the Upgrade
Just as Amazon was basking in the rosy sales figures of its Android tablet launch, (figures it never shares but should be hitting four million by the end of the year). Along comes the inevitable, if rather mild, backlash from some users who are starting to realize the tablet is not quite on a par with their expectations.
While these should do little do damage to the Fire's reputation or sales, Amazon has promised a software update in the next few weeks, while future hardware revisions will improve any intractable issues. Reviews are piling in on Amazon's own Kindle Fire page, with hundreds of coherent three-star reviews pointing out the current flaws. Despite these, it still averages a four-star rating, showing that it has hit a market sweet spot, but one cites:
"There are some downsides too; the small bezel size makes holding it without inadvertent page-turns difficult, the lack of buttons makes controls harder, the accessible storage memory is limited to just 5GB, which seems awfully small when carrying my own video content on a trip, and overall the interface of the system is just a little awkward and unfinished. Sometimes the back button doesn't work, buttons are hard to push accurately or launch the wrong function, navigation isn't exactly intuitive, etc."
The Smart Money
It is the software issues that Amazon will seek to address in the forthcoming upgrade, due in the coming weeks. That will likely add new features, tweak the user interface and improve performance, but there is little specific information. Users have been asking for more privacy and to make it easier to prevent accidental purchase (usually thanks to pesky kids who can 1-Click order anything they like), features that need to be highly prominent for less technical users to access.
If Amazon does want to launch a smartphone, it will take heart that both Apple and Samsung are becoming patch-proactive, with Apple's iOS 5.1 update keenly anticipated. In that respect, Amazon is already in good company.