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January 10th 2013 3:23 pm

I'm confused about one aspect of Amazon's Kindle strategy

We recently saw a patch for the Kindle Touch which adds a lot of the new features that were introduced in the Paperwhite. I remember a similar thing happening with the 4th-gen Kindle and Kindle Keyboard, where the new features shipped with the 4th-gen Kindle were added to the Keyboard, but quite a few months later.

I'm skeptical that it takes them this long to prepare these new features for older devices. And even if it did, they could be working on these patches at the same time as they're developing the new devices, so that if they wanted to the patches could be ready at the same time as the new devices.

It seems like they might be purposely waiting on these patches so that the newer devices seem like a bigger leap forward. But since we know they only make marginal profits on the sales of these devices, why would they adopt that strategy? If their goal, which they've stated before, is to make money when people use their devices instead of when they buy them, wouldn't they want to release these patches as soon as possible?

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Perhaps since they are not making money on the devices, they don't like dedicating resources to old devices. Maybe they have just one dude down in the basement doing the bacports for all the old devices.
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It seems like since they're making the money from their Kindle business through selling the content, that would make them more inclined to support old devices. If someone felt their old device was, well...old, then they might decide to get a new one. Maybe they'd get another Amazon product, but maybe not. I'd they'd want to keep people who already own one of their devices happy with it for as long as possible.
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Well, keep in mind that people like you and me make up about 5 to 10% of the user base for the Kindle. The other 90% of the owners probably don't know whether or not their device is up-to-date with the newer ones, and at least 50% of those people probably would choose not to update their Kindle if asked, saying they don't like changes. I'm also willing to bet Amazon has done their research on this and would be updating faster if that research showed enough people getting antsy about it.
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I imagine that the group who is working on software for the new devices is also the group responsible for updating and maintaining the software on older generations. I have no knowledge if this is true, merely what I think.

As new features are added to the new devices; I believe it takes longer and becomes harder to implement those features on older devices. If that group is composed of a relative few members from the whole organization then the group is forced to prioritize what devices are developed for and maintained. Thus leading to long update times for the older generations as the priority now seems to be creating new more feature rich devices.
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