Last week, Jakob Nielsen, known as the “Guru of Usability,” let us know in no uncertain terms that Amazon’s Kindle Fire suffers from some serious form factor and interface issues. His comments are in line with other reports from Kindle Fire users, who have found the experience to be slow, choppy, and less than ideal in many regards.
A lack of privacy and no parental controls are a major concern for many Kindle Fire users. There’s no way to erase browser history or viewed items, and with one touch purchasing enabled, it’s easy for children to accidentally purchase items.
After reviewing the Kindle Fire, Nielsen felt that it would be a failure, and said that he would not recommend purchasing the device. The Kindle Fire may be the most successful product that Amazon’s ever released, but without some improvements, it could very well tank in the long run.
Amazon is addressing user concerns with a planned update. According to Drew Herdener, Amazon spokesman, Amazon will be releasing an over-the-air update to the Kindle Fire in less than two weeks.
The update will improve performance and multitouch navigation, which should relieve some of the issues that people have had with response times. It will also add privacy options to allow users to edit their recent activity on the carousel, making the device slightly more private. Amazon didn’t mention changing the way one-click purchases work, so it’s still best to keep your tablet out of the hands of kids and other ne’er do wells who are likely to charge items to your account.
Amazon has not released sales numbers on the Kindle Fire, but analysts estimate that the retailer will sell between three and five million units this quarter. Despite its issues, the tablet is still selling well and Amazon is planning a revised version that may come as early as next spring. For now, if you’re considering a Kindle Fire, I’d suggest doing some serious research before making the purchase. Remember, you get what you pay for.
[via The New York Times]