Round up #65: Firestorm #4

Round up #65: Firestorm #4

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later. The Firestorm designation is to indicate that these will be stories about the Kindle Fire. I am being careful to mix up the stories, so I don’t overwhelm people with one topic. Some of my readers are, understandably, not interested in the Fire (after all, it’s not very like the Kindle I loved when I started this blog)…but there are others that are. I figure by identifying this as a Fire based post, that should help. Not interested in the Fire? Read the previous post…or the next one. :)

Paying for 5-star reviews

I’ve recently written about reviews on Amazon and polled my readers about how they use them.

More than 75% of my respondents said that reviews are important to their buying decisions (31.98%) or “I rely on them: I don’t buy without looking at them” (44.16%).

Obviously, there is a lot of motivation to get five-star reviews.

I won’t kid you: I love seeing five-star reviews for my works. I also like seeing lower ranked ones that tell my why…I have learned valuable things from those.

However, I always tell people I want them to write reviews that are honest and specific.

Allegedly, there is at least one entity out there that doesn’t share my love for honesty. 😉

I’m not talking about “sock puppet” reviews, where people connected to the author/publisher of the book write glowing five-star reviews (without disclosing the connection). You know, “Oh, I happened to find this wonderful book! It’s the best book…I’ve ever read! You have to get it! It’s a total coincidence that my kid wrote it.” 😉 Of course, you don’t see that last line.

No, according to this

New York Times article

by David Streitfeld, a company rebated people what they paid for their product…if the buyers wrote a review on Amazon.

They didn’t specifically require a five-star review…but did say they really wanted them.

According to the article, when Amazon was informed of this situation, they removed the reviews…which had been overwhelmingly five-star.

The product is a Kindle Fire case, which is why this is in a Firestorm round up.

As a blogger, I’m required to reveal if somebody gave me something when I write a review. I think I’ve always done that, even before I was aware of the rule. It actually complicates things if somebody gives me something…I’d rather just be directed to it, and I’ll buy it if I want. Oh, but Amazon, I’d love to get review copies of Kindles early…I don’t mind returning them, and I’m probably going to buy one any way. 🙂

I recommend you read the article…but it might make you mad. 🙂

Fire Consumes the Galaxy!

I could not resist that headline. 🙂

This is a

Business Insider graph

you have to see.

It shows the shift in share of application usage on Android tabs from November of 2011 to January 2012.

Here is the key statistic:

In November, the Samsung Galaxy Tab was 63% of the app usage tracked by Flurry.

I would certainly have considered a Galaxy if the Fire hadn’t been out there. I’m quite happy with my Samsung Captivate phone.

The Kindle Fire was out for about ten days in November.

In January (which isn’t over yet, of course), the Galaxy had dropped from 63% to 36% (a drop of 27% of the share).

Where did it go?

The Fire in November was 3%…in January, it was 36% (the same as the Galaxy tab).

Found it! 😉

Obviously, there was a bit more shuffling, but I think that’s the main shift. No other tab had much of the Android market at that point.

Android takes ten percent of the tablet market from the iPad

Clearly, the Fire was part of this.

Comparing Q4 (fourth quarter) share of the market from 2010 to 2011, iOS (the iPads) went from a 68.2% share of the global tablet market to a 57.6% (dropping 10.6%) while Android tablets went from 29.0% to 39.1%.

Does that mean that Android will have more than half of the market by the end of 2012?

Not necessarily.

If Apple releases an iPad 3 (which seems likely), that will be a flush of sales for iOS.

On the other hand, I expect Amazon to release more than one new Android tablet this year…that could really pump up Android.

Failure of other Android models, though, could weaken Android’s share.

We’ll keep an eye on it, but certainly, the iPad isn’t the dominant power it was at this point.

Strategy Analytics press release

Microsoft releases free Hotmail app for the Kindle Fire

I like the e-mail app on the Kindle Fire, but it does have some limitations. I don’t see an easy way to import my contacts, and you can’t change the text size.

Microsoft has put a free app in the Amazon Appstore specifically for the Kindle Fire:


I don’t know at this point if it addresses the text size issue, but it does let you use your Hotmail contacts. 🙂

Hotmail is free, by the way, if you want to sign up for an account to use this:

It has improved over time: it allows for an integrated inbox with other e-mail (including AOL) and using contacts from other services.

Feel free to tell me what you think about any of these stories…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


16 Responses to “Round up #65: Firestorm #4”

  1. Sherri Says:

    When reading reviews, I always assume there’s a possibility the reviews are being gamed in one way or another. It’s not really new or restricted to e-commerce, either. When I bought my car 8 years ago, the dealership offered a free fill-up if I gave them all “excellents” on the followup phone survey the manufacturer did. (I hate phone surveys, so I passed on both the offer and the survey.)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Sherri!

      I would have passed anyway, because it is at the least underhanded and possibly illegal, although I’m not sure about the latter.

      One of the hardest experiences I had as a Training Manager was with a trainer I liked. We (and this wasn’t my design) based a lot of things on evaluations trainers got from students. If you couldn’t maintain high scores, you could be subject to remedial action, even lose your job (in extreme situations).

      In this particular case, I was looking at comments from a class, and there was a really good one (we had both a numerical score and a place for comments). It was good enough that I thought we might want to use it in promotion. So, I contacted the student to ask for permission.

      The student was confused. That person had loved the class and did give it the top score…but hadn’t written that comment.

      I did a lot of research, going through all of the evaluations from all of the classes that day, to be able to eliminate that the comment might have been made on the wrong trainer that day.

      My research showed that wasn’t the case.

      With HR there, we asked the trainer, who admitted making up the comment.

      We fired the trainer…for dishonesty on those evaluations.

      It’s really important to note that this trainer was in no risk of anything bad happening because of the reviews, and we hadn’t used comments in promotion like that before, I think. If the employee hadn’t lied, there would have been no bad consequences.

  2. Zebras Says:

    Bufo: I pre-ordered one of those fire covers not because of any reviews but because the cost plus shipping was under $10. Today was the day it was supposed to arrive, but it didn’t, and ironically, I was listening to the NY Times on my Fire this morning and heard this story. Really would like to return it on principle, but the hassle and cost of returning since it wasn’t shipped by Amazon seems more trouble than its worth. Would you return it?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      Well, that’s where the question of “principle” really comes into play. 🙂 If it’s a matter of principle, it shouldn’t matter what it costs or how hard it is to do, hypothetically.

      I would not have returned it, myself. You could certainly ask Amazon about it…they might (ironically) refund you for it.

  3. tuxgirl Says:

    I’d like to side-track the discussion about reviews a bit with a question (for anyone reading, not just Bufo).

    When you review a book, do you factor in how much you paid for it? Do you give a higher review to a freebie than you would for the same book if it was 5$?

    If so, then should everyone say, in the review, what they paid for it (or, if we’re going that far, maybe amazon should just provide that, next to the “verified purchase” tag).

    I think there is definitely a “value for money” concept that is useful in reviews. However, with how frequently prices change for digital content, I think it opens an interesting set of issues for reviewers.

    Another place to see this issue, perhaps more obviously, is with reviews of android apps that are the free app of the day. There are apps that I have gotten and really appreciate as free app of the day. I use them frequently, and really really like them. Thus, in my mind, they are 5-star apps. However, I know that if they had been their normal price, I probably wouldn’t’ve paid for them, even knowing how much I like them currently. So, what would that rating be?

    Anyway, just something to ponder/discuss… 🙂

  4. Deb Schmalz Says:

    I’ve tried to open a Hotnail account by typing in my ‘other’ email account as requested (Gmail name and password) and I keep being told that either my email address and/or my password is incorrect. I tried again double checking and have done shay was asked correctly. I did choose the ‘Hotmail for the Kindle Fire’s from the apps listed. Can you explain?

  5. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Apparently a few days after removing the offending reviews, Amazon also removed the product from the store.

    I had bought the Hotmail app for my smartphone. There, it is a memory hog, and when I run it, I’m constantly getting low memory alerts.

    The Windows columnist, Paul Thurott, has bought it for his KF, and he was very positive about it. He did mention that since contacts and calendar are not sub-folders of the inbox in Hotmail, getting access to these two items is a bit convoluted.

    Based on his recommendation I went ahead and bought it for my KF, but have not installed it yet. In reading the reviews of the app on the Amazon store (there were less than 10 at the time), several remarked that they were unable to get access to their calendar and contact items.

    For me the big advantage of this app is that it let’s me see all the sub-folders under my inbox (I have a few Hotmail rules that automatically move certain email messages into these folders — one of which moves all kindle-related emails into a “kindle” sub-folder 😀 — these messages are not viewable in the standard Amazon email app (tho you can see them if you go to Hotmail in the browser and login.)..

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Well, I downloaded it last night to be able to help Deb (I have several e-mail accounts, but Hotmail hasn’t been one of them, so I didn’t have a need for it).

      It could, of course, be a coincidence, but my Kindle Fire became completely non-responsive for the first time. It wouldn’t wake up, and the charge light would not come on.

      I left it plugged in over night (even though I knew the charge wasn’t particularly low) and it seems okay this morning…so far (virtual fingers crossed). I was prepared to call Amazon for a replacement possibly, this morning.

      It did start this morning, and hopefully, Coventry is okay.

  6. Kerry Says:

    Good morning, Bufo! When I first began buying music for my Fire it was going to the cloud. I just figured out how to change the settings to have songs delivered to my device. What I want to do is download all my previous purchases from the cloud to my device but am having no luck. I want to enjoy my music when no wifi is available. Can you tell me how to do this?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Kerry!

      Go to your Music tab.

      Tap Cloud at the top of the screen.

      You’ll see choices for Playlists, Artists, Albums, and Songs.

      Find what you want to download (you may find it easiest to make a Playlist on your computer while you are in the Cloud Player first), then “long press” it (hold your finger on it for about a second).

      You’ll see a download choice. It’s worded differently if you are looking at an artist or an album, for example, but you’ll see it.

      Let the music download before you move out of the wi-fi area or turn off the wireless.

      • Kerry Says:

        Thank you so much, Bufo. That worked swimmingly! You are so kind to us technologically challenged folk! ;))

  7. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I’ve noticed that occasionally when I plug my kindles into a usb hub to charge, that it seems not to (or to take a very long time). I’ve found that plugging kindles through the adapter directly to a wall outlet works best for me.

    I installed hotmail this am, and it appears to be working as advertised (I can now select sub-folders and sync them if I wish). From what I could gather on the calendar/contact front, the app allows you to search for specific contacts/calendar items, but offers no ability to view contacts/calendar items in the aggregate.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I was charging from the wall charger, and I know it should have had probably 3/4s of the battery charge left. I’m still not sure what happened, but so far so good (knock virtual wood). 🙂

  8. Zebras Says:

    Bufo: In case you were wonder how the moral dilemma played out with the VIP deals Kindle Fire cover! The darn thing never arrived. I just sent an e-mail requesting a refund rather than a replacement. I will have to continue to prop up my Fire using my laptop for a while longer.

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