Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Things That Were Better Before: Amazon Kindle

I should make this a repeating series: Things That Were Better Before. Because, more and more, I am finding myself thinking, "That used to be great, but now it's not." Like the entire world has become a giant Quizno's or something.

My Kindle is underwhelming me more every day. My first problem is storage. It comes with a certain amount of storage (my model has 8 GB) with the option of adding an SD card. However, lots of the apps won't install to anything but the internal storage. I added a 32-GB SD card and moved what could move, which turned out to be about 500 MB. That's it. I still get "memory almost full" messages, I've had to remove apps, and others can't run because of space limitations.

So what's the other 31 and a half gigabytes of SD card doing? Well, Amazon now has a new "feature" where, if your device has unused storage, it automatically downloads videos to your device for you to watch later. So now I have a bunch of "The Man in the High Castle" or whatever the hell that show is called. There's a way to turn this "feature" off, thankfully, except I've done that and I still get episodes downloading to my SD card.

I've changed my setting so my pictures save to the SD card, so I guess I could take a ton of pictures. Except the Kindle camera is terrible because it can't focus (seriously, it's 2017 and there are still unfocusing digital cameras being made in this world?). Also, Amazon has changed the photo app so it's unclear where photos go when I take them. They are on the device but also in the cloud and when I delete the photo it only deletes from the device.

And Amazon's cloud service has decided that the unlimited storage plan I've bought doesn't exist anymore, so now I can switch to a variety of limited storage plans. Physical things aren't subject to the store repossessing them after the sale. Even defined digital items aren't subject to this (once I buy a PDF of an article, it's mine). But when the entire world is run on subscription services, what you've bought is only defined until the next billing period, when it may change at the whim of the provider.

The Amazon app store is under-serviced, so I can't get my bank's app on the Kindle without adding Google Play and doing some tricks to make the Google app store think my Kindle is a phone. But then I have to carry Google Play on my Kindle (in the device storage, of course) so I can do mobile banking. But with the terrible Kindle camera, I can't always take legible pictures of the checks I'm trying to deposit.

I've written before about how the commoditization of everything is ruining everything, about how radio is terrible now that radio station owners want to extract every possible cent of value from the radio listener. Well, the same thing is happening to the Kindle user experience. Five years ago, Amazon made their money from Kindle users when the users bought their Kindles. Now they are trying to make money from the users every time the users interact with the device.

I saw an article yesterday about how Amazon as a company is comprised of a breaking-even retailer and a digital services company that has some enormous profit margin. This means I should expect this trend to continue and worsen. I think Amazon is expecting mood affiliation to keep customers from defecting to Walmart. However, I have more affinity for Walmart than I have for Amazon.

1 comment:

Alanna said...

Don't even get me started on how much I hate EVERY iTunes update EVER. It was such a great program and now it just keeps getting worse and worse. I usually just don't update it, even though I get those annoying reminders on a daily basis, but I finally did so I could put our iTunes music on my phone and now the SCROLL BAR doesn't work. The bloody scroll bar!!!!

Steve Jobs should be rolling over in his grave.


I may have to do my own blog post about all this. Stay tuned!