Kindle Fire draws fire from users

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Amazon's Kindle Fire is proving less than popular with many users, with complaints over the lack of external volume control, privacy issues and a clumsy user interface.

Indeed, according to the New York Times, many are simply sending their devices back.

One user has complained about the lack of parental controls after buying one for their 11-year-old as a Christmas present.

"Typed in 'Teen Fiction' which is probably what an 11yo would do if she was looking for a book to read (she reads books classified as Young Adult)... what I got within 3 scrolls was teen porn," writes PC Kellogg on an Amazon forum.

"There should be some sort of parental control that can eliminate these items from showing up. An innocent search should not result in inappropriate results."

Some of the problems at least should be fixed soon, with Amazon promising a software update within the next two weeks. This should improve both performance and navigation, as well as improving privacy controls.

As things stand, if someone picks up the device, they can see what the previous user was doing; the update will now allow users to edit the device's recent history.

But other complaints concern aspects of the hardware itself. There's no external volume control, for example, and many users complain that it's too easy to hit the 'off' button by accident.

There have also been complaints about the screen brightness and poor Wifi access.

"Connections cannot be made on some public networks and even on my strong home network," says one user on the company's support forum.

"One tech told me to restart my router since the Fire takes a lot of bandwidth and needs to be the first thing to connect to the network before other devices."

There is at least, however, a solution for the poorly-positioned off button. "I did find that I occasionally pressed the power button when reading a book - the fix? Turn the unit over so the bottom was the top! The unit doesn't care in the reader app," says one user. "The other device issues are minor and I'm sure will be fixed via software updates."