By Doug Gross, CNN
December 12, 2011 -- Updated 1652 GMT (0052 HKT) | Filed under: Gaming and Gadgets
|The Amazon Kindle Fire tablet is the top-selling device in the Kindle lineup.|
(CNN) -- Kindle Fire, the stripped-down tablet computer that is emerging as perhaps the most popular rival to Apple's iPad, will be getting an update soon to address some early user complaints, Amazon said.
Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said an operating-system update will improve speed and touchscreen controls and will give users controls over displaying recent browsing activity. Presumably, those controls would allow Kindle Fire owners to keep that activity private from other users.
"In less than two weeks, we're rolling out an over-the-air update to Kindle Fire," Herdener told the New York Times.
Messages to Amazon representatives were not immediately returned Monday morning.
In the nearly two years since the iPad was introduced, competitors have struggled to gain any traction in the tablet market with devices that attempt to rival the Apple device in features and price.
But Amazon's Kindle Fire is a smaller, simpler device that, at $199, is a full $300 cheaper than the least-expensive iPad 2.
Amazon has not given comprehensive sales figures for the Fire since it was released November 15. But the company has reported that it's the top-selling device in its Kindle lineup. Black Friday was the biggest sales day ever for the Kindle line of e-readers and tablets, said the online retailer, which sold four times as many of the devices as last year.
Kindle Fire vs. iPad 2: Which one is right for you?
But some users have been disappointed with the Fire's features.
Complaints, on Amazon's Fire user forums and elsewhere online, have centered on issues like the power button being too easy to hit accidentally, the lack of physical volume-control buttons and a touchscreen that isn't sensitive enough, making it sometimes hard to register touch controls.
Users have also grumbled that the device's Web browser, Silk, sometimes loads pages slowly.
"Is anyone else finding that it takes several tries to get the device to actually go to what you are pressing on the screen?" one user wrote on Amazon's official Kindle forums. "I am finding this TOTALLY FRUSTRATING! It is taking me several hits many times to get a reaction out of it. What is up with that?"
Jakob Nielsen, a Web usability expert and consultant, panned the Fire in a post on his site last week, calling its browser "clunky and error-prone" and saying its magazine-reading experience is "miserable."
But others remain sold on the device's appeal and potential.
"Initial market response strongly suggests that Amazon, with the Kindle Fire, has found the right combination of savvy pricing, astute marketing, accessible content and an appropriate business model, positioning the Kindle Fire to appeal to a brand-new set of media tablet buyers," wrote Rhoda Alexander, researcher for analyst firm IHS, this month.