the Maddog Rag

Often growling, at times rabid, culturally reflective commentary

Seven Months with the Amazon Fire HD 6

As stated near the top of the original Fire HD 6 post a short time after taking delivery, my main interest in purchasing the device was to see how far the Android platform had progressed since my last experience with it years ago. That experience was with a Motorola cell phone.

I was very pleased with the phone itself but too early in my two year contract, the operating system and applications proved unreliable and problematic. This deteriorated to the state to where I had 6 months or better left in that contract and a few apps that came with the device (and others) were no longer usable. Most annoying were the camera and photo gallery apps. After taking a picture and exiting the camera app, the pic was no longer available anywhere on the phone. The photo gallery app presented no photos. All this was definitely related to OS and app updates delivered automatically.

During that 6 month period before my contract expired I tried contacting tech support through my cell service provider. After reporting my issues, the hardware I was on, and the OS version, their response was that it was time to upgrade the phone. This really pissed me off, as I could not believe a phone I already paid for needed to be replaced at my expense before the contract it came with expired.

So my first experience with Android was not pleasant.

To get back to the Fire HD 6, I must say not all that much has changed. The hardware itself has no issues. But the OS and applications are apparently still a product of an environment lacking controls needed to prevent the scenarios I described above. I am 7 months into ownership of this device and it too has become problematic and unreliable.

I have it set to take all updates automatically, for both the OS and apps, as recommended. I regularly monitor and approve those app updates which wait for user acknowledgement due to security access changes required.

For the last month or longer the device reboots itself regularly, without warning. I have been unable to tie this to a specific app. It has happened at times when I power up the device, make sure no apps are loaded, and just let it sit. Once in this scenario I saw it boot 3 times within 15 minutes, which to me rules out the issue being related to receiving OS updates.

Another complaint, NOT related to the OS, is about vendors of popular apps claiming to provide both Apple and Android platform support. Too many times the Android version available is many updates and features behind its Apple version, which has caused problems as well when sharing with other smart devices. Words With Friends is one example as I can no longer use the Fire HD 6 to play that game with Apple users on the latest version. Regardless of the app genre, if you say you support multiple platforms, this situation is not acceptable.

In closing, I fully admit that I am currently a more “dumb user” than I used to be, by choice. I am retired from a technical environment as a software simian, and expect that if I obtained the right tools, literature, and experience with the Android environment, I could possibly be helpful in diagnosing some of my issues. But I am happily out of that game, and this adventure back into Android was purposely undertaken as a typical citizen who just expects technology purchased to work, and keep working.

If extra cash is available in the future, say maybe 4 to 5 years out, I might give Android another shot. But look out – I’ll probably be a LOT dumber by then.

Politically Speaking…

Art by Pawel Kuczynski.

Political Oratory at Election Time


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