Five models of Kindle, popular e-reading devices, are becoming obsolete, losing support from their manufacturer and essentially unable to download new books.
August is typically a key month for avid readers, who devour books on the beach and by pools as part of their summer vacations. But the month is not a welcome one for some readers who rely on Amazon Kindles for their entertainment.
Kindle (2nd Generation) International, Kindle DX International, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle (4th Generation), and Kindle (5th Generation) are affected by the change, which Amazon announced earlier this year. It’s a total change in how the Kindle works that nearly locks down the device: Starting in the first week of August, users will lose the ability to buy books directly from the device and won’t be able to add books to a wish list to buy them. another device at a later date.
It’s not just one-time book purchases that are affected by Amazon’s decision to withdraw support for devices. Kindle Unlimited subscribers, who pay for an all-you-can-eat Kindle service with continuous access to electronic versions of books, will find they suddenly find themselves in the cold, too. They will not be able to browse or read new titles directly on affected models.
A broader problem
The idea of taking devices and support for them out of service is accelerating and has long been an issue for people who buy technology. Spending hundreds, or thousands, on devices comes with an implicit agreement that you’ll be able to use the device for its entire lifespan without the manufacturer pulling support.
And yet that premise is a problem for manufacturers, who rely on us to upgrade our phones and tablets to keep making money. So it’s no wonder they decide to drop support for older devices.
The Kindle recall is due, in part, to security. Last year, Amazon said it was only offering device security updates four years after your device was last available for purchase on its website. This is due to the prohibitive cost of being able to maintain decent security on devices and the potential reputational risk of having thousands, if not millions, of unsecured devices in the wild bearing the Amazon brand. If they were hacked, there could be huge ramifications.
However, there is another reputational risk, and one that regulators have taken notice of. It is the risk of alienating and annoying users by dragging them into an endless cycle of updates, taking their money. Apple iPhone and iPad users have long complained that the company unofficially removes them from their devices by issuing ever-larger iOS updates that seem to turn a fast-running device into one that slows to a crawl. .
And the politicians who have been watching this happen, and they see it across manufacturers, are starting to step in to try to prevent it from happening. European parliamentarians presented a law that gives users the right to repair in April 2022. The reason? A survey found that 79% of EU citizens believe that manufacturers should make repairs easier, with another 77% saying that the ability to repair their devices would be preferable to replacing them.
European legislators are not the only ones. In July, the Indian government said it was beginning to draft right-to-repair rules to protect consumers.
“A product that cannot be repaired or falls into planned obsolescence, that is, designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, not only becomes electronic waste but also forces consumers to buy new products in the absence of repair. to reuse it,” the Ministry said. says the spokesman for Consumer Affairs. “Therefore, restricting product repair forces consumers to deliberately choose to purchase a new model of that product.”
Now there is a race going on: between manufacturers trying to push devices to the end of their useful life and regulators trying to ensure that consumers’ rights are enshrined in law. Who wins remains to be seen.
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