Kindle Screen Failure, Replacement
April 23, 2008
Gadgets fail. Some more than others, but that’s what they do. Assuming that the failure rate isn’t completely excessive, what separates one gadget (and vendor) from another is often just how well they support their product.
My Kindle has been slowly failing for the past couple of weeks.
I first noticed that the book I was reading didn’t have a title. I figured it was just a glitch in the book file, but it became clear that what happened was that the top quarter-inch or so of the display was just not displaying (or displaying so faintly it couldn’t be read).
Not too much later, I also had a “white line” down the left edge of the page, which was causing the leftmost pixels of the first letter of each sentence to disappear.
No doubt about it, my Kindle was checking out. I was a little surprised that the screen was the point of failure; I’d felt since day one that the buttons were a bit fragile, but after 50 – 60 books, they were still working fine.
The good news was that this coincided with Amazon actually having Kindles in stock for the first time since November.
Late Saturday evening, I logged into Amazon and started to write a message to Kindle customer service. As I was doing this, I noticed there was a “call me now” button, so I decided to try it. It was 11:30pm on Saturday night, but I was immediately connected with a very helpful support tech. Instead of forcing me through a script, he listened while I explained that I’d done all of the expected stuff (reset the unit with the hidden reset button, made sure it was charged, etc.), and said “Sounds like it’s broke. No problem, we’ll get another one out to you.” No muss, no fuss, no long delays, and best of all, no problem waiting for me to return the old unit until the new unit arrived (it was still mostly usable, just unclear for how long).
The new unit showed up today (essentially, 2nd day shipping since it couldn’t go out until Monday), in full retail packaging. The only noticeable difference is that this one indicates that it’s running version 1.08 of the Kindle OS, while my old one (purchased on day one) was still running 1.0. (well, that and the new one wasn’t broken)
I have to say that I’m quite pleased with Amazon today. Anybody can make a gadget that breaks, but it’s how you manage the experience from that point on that matters. Apple gets this entirely, and apparently so does Amazon.
The only minor fly in the ointment was in trying to get my purchased content over to the new Kindle, I called support, who suggested most everything but what actually needed to be done, which was associate the new Kindle with my account. Oh well, maybe I wasn’t clear about the situation. I figured it out myself a few minutes later, so no big deal.