What’s wrong with the Kindle Paperwhite? Amazon explains

October 15, 2012
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The new Kindle Paperwhite is proving popular. It solves the major failing of the original Kindle e-reader line by providing a built-in light for reading in the dark. Despite the fact that it is selling like hot cakes, Amazon has taken the unusual step of releasing a short message about its “limitations”, which include a lack of audio and Text-to-Speech functionality, uneven light on the bottom of the screen, and a limited amount of storage.

It’s possible that Amazon is looking to pre-empt any complaints, but it’s unusual for a manufacturer to discuss product flaws. In each case the thinking behind it is explained. Amazon claims that the lack of audio and Text-to-Speech allows the device to be smaller and lighter.

The effect of different lighting conditions and the resulting uneven light is mentioned and the message says that these “variations are normal and are located primarily in the margin where text is not present.” That sounds like a clear attempt to head-off complaints down the line.

The final entry discusses the drop to 2GB of storage when previous models boasted 4GB. Amazon points out that you’ll still have enough room for 1,100 books and your entire Kindle library can be stored and accessed for free in the Amazon cloud.

None of this stuff sounds like a big deal. The lack of audio could be a big disappointment for some people, but how popular is it as a feature? Taking a look at the images of the uneven light it doesn’t look like it’s going to have much impact on your enjoyment. The storage still looks ample. Given that Amazon is breaking even on these products we can’t see minimal flaws having too much of a negative impact on sales.

What do you think? Are any of these things a deal-breaker? Is Amazon’s pre-emptive message a smart move?

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