Amazon Kindle Comes Under Fire
Will the flames of early excitement that have tantalized consumers and ignited sales of Amazon’s 7″ color Fire handheld, the lowest cost entrant into the tablet wars at less than half the price of the Apple iPad and $50 lower than the Barnes & Noble Nook, be cooled by customer reviews? A few outspoken end-users and a well-known “usability” firm have thrown a splash of cold water on Fire’s glowing embers prompting Amazon to commit to a firmware update promised in two weeks’ time.
Usability guru Jakob Nielsen is one of the most critical observers of the seven-inch Kindle Fire tablet, finding that the screen size may be too small for “fat fingering” the tiny text links of Web pages that are necessary for smooth online navigation. “Everything is much too small,” groans Nielsen on his ire of Fire, “leading to frequent tap errors and accidental activation.” he writes. He bases this “qualitative” analysis on a user study of a scant four pariticpants.
Like the Nook, the Kindle Fire occupies the untested “middle ground” between the 10″ inch tablets which work “quite well,” says the analyst for full scale Web sites and, on the other hand, mobile smartphones which can be far easier to manage since they can summon up mobile sites that are fashioned for fingertip access.
According to Nielsen, founder of the renown Nielsen Norman Group, the Kindle Fire “wins big for reading magazines and other light nonfiction. Deeper reading that requires users to frequently refer to other parts of the text is still not well supported.” Even with a touchscreen, the analyst feels that “within-book navigation is slow and awkward,” and that the device is a bit heavy, so can’t be recommend for reading textbooks.
Another consumer complaint is the lack of a physical audio control button on the device. This author found the placement of the power button at the bottom of the device created problems with certain holders like those that support the Fire like a music stand. That won’t work since the power button sits at the bottom and is triggered if standing in portrait mode on the button.
The good news is that Amazon has responded to market feedback — the same kind it asks for and receives in drives on its Website under the ‘Reviews” section. A firmware update is being readied for download “in two weeks” according to the Amazers, making it sound like the software end of things could be patched before the clock strikes 2012
If you find yourself with reading time available over the holiday break, a 293-page report on Usability of Mobile Websites and Applications with 210 design guidelines and 479 screenshots is available for download. [24×7]
Tis’ The Season for Social Creeds and Reads
Speaking of good reads this social season, by the light of your home’s fireplace, (digital or otherwise), you’ll find brilliant social media illumination through a bevy of titles that bring the “how to’s” of social networking, strategies and “get it done” tactics into real-world focus.
Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher – How to Use Content to Market Online and in Social Media by Rebecca Lieb teaches the reader how to build a cohesive digital content strategy to engage prospects and turn them into highly profitable customers. Lieb’s trademark is finding “what works” and debunking the myths that don’t.
Get Bold: Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business by Sandy Carter shares a wealth of knowledge from the leader of IBM’s social initiatives. Who knew Big Blue was this engaging?
Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant, is a practical guide that is unique in it’s approach to using social media for leadership, not for marketing. Social media is ultimately about fostering interpersonal communication that champions ideas. This guidebook could make you a “thought leader.”
Zero to 100,000: Social Media Tips and Tricks for Small Businesses by Sarah-Jayne Gratton and Anthony Dean Gratton blends the real world experiencew of a former actress and model who “gets” how to build a social media persona. A neat guide to help you plan to find 100,000 new friends, supporters and customers. Chock full of time-tested tactics to gain traction and win results.
On the eBook shelf, Take Control Books by Seattle alumni tech publishers emeritus, Adam and Tonya Engst, have made it easy to gain command and control of the iPad, iPhone andOS X Lion ecosystem with two eBooks on managing eMail and day-to-day operations for smoother sailing. Each eBook comes with an interesting feature — the ability to be automatically updated as information changes on their subjects. See TakeControlBooks.com for more. [24×7]
Wanna Get Away — Last Minute? “High Tail It ” to FlyTailIt
Seattle is still piloting the online travel category in many respects. Following industry pioneer and Expedia with arguably the most advanced air fare predictor inFarecast, now integrated into Microsoft’s Bing travel search features, our skyward trend is once again gaining altiutde.
Now another new entry is taxiing for takeoff and is writing its ticket based on spotting discounts for last minute travel arrangements. Flytailit compares both airline and travel sites for spur of the moment travel plans, although the ultimate flight plan calls for scouring and booking all types of travel. If the weather outside turns frightful and the holidays look more delightful on the sunnier side of the cloud bank, hightail it to the startup lead by Ryan Mulcahy, a former manager at Allrecipes.com. [24×7]