The Next Kindle Better Have USB-C to Avoid a Revolt

Kindle Needs USB-C

It’s amazing how many complaints there have been lately about Kindles and other ebook readers not having USB-C ports, especially the new Kindle Oasis.

In fact, the top review for the new Oasis at Amazon is a 1-star review with the sole complaint that the new Kindle lacks USB-C and how that’s completely unacceptable and the Kindle project engineer should be fired.

The reason it’s the first review shown is because people have hit the “helpful” button below the review more times than any other review, with over 400 people finding the review helpful (apparently people really want that engineer fired).

Using Amazon’s search tool, there are a number of reviews complaining about the lack of a USB-C port. It seems like it’s one of the biggest complaints, along with battery life.

Some people consider the lack of a USB-C port a 1-star offense that can’t be overlooked, and others just consider it a minor negative.

I like USB-C as much as the next person, especially since it doesn’t take three tries to find the right way to plug it in, but I fail to see why it’s such a big deal on Kindles and ebook readers in general. The Kindle Oasis charges unusually fast as it is with the old micro-USB port, and I’d rather transfer files wirelessly than by USB anyway so the advantages are lost on me.

Regardless, Amazon better have a USB-C port on the next new Kindle or people are going to start a riot.

44 Responses to “The Next Kindle Better Have USB-C to Avoid a Revolt”

  1. It is the idea that you have to carry another cable (with emphasis in the word idea), and the expectation that it is supposed to be the best ereader from amazon.

  2. My phone has USB-C. My computer has USB-C. My power banks have USB-C. My Kindle does not. That means that instead of just connecting to my devices with the cable that is already plugged into my computer, I have to grab another cable that I don’t use for anything else than the Kindle.
    This is a very first-world issue yes. But there are devices cheaper than a Kindle that have USB-C ports on them. As such there is no reason for why Amazon continues to use Micro-USB on any of their new devices that aren’t just a spec bump. The base Kindle is “understandable” because the only change appears to be the addition of a frontlight, but the new Paperwhite and Oasis have no reason at all for remaining with Micro-USB.

    • Even my $35 Boltune true wireless earbuds have USB-C and come with a USB-C cable. Of course I don’t need that capability on a charging case for earbuds but the fact that they include it and the fact that it’s the standard makes me respect the company more, especially an obscure company without Amazons budget.

  3. An other plus is you can get audio by a headphone USB type C

  4. You can also get more powerful chargers with USB-C. Some sort of quickcharge on Kindles would be nice.

  5. It’s all about perception. People ask themselves “How is is that the the new Oasis 3, being the Flagship model at $300, does not have USB-C when it has been the standard for at least 3 years now?”

    Whether or not it is actually needed is besides the point. It’s the standard and should be included at that price and at the flagship level. In my opinion Amazon should have allowed fast charging capabilities with USB-C because the battery life on the Oasis 2/3 is pitiful. Battery life is the worst thing about the Oasis aside from the wide design and slick cold form factor.
    People still view Amazon as the standard in eReaders, as the leader since most have never heard of Kobo, so to see no noticeable difference the new Oasis aside from “Comfort light” has many people twisted and irate. Complaining that Amazon has become lazy and complacent, and they are right. Considering the life cycle of the Oasis is 2-3 years that makes USB-C even more crucial. It’s all about convenience and this is where Amazon failed. Not doing enough market research and listening to customers needs and demands.
    I for one am still waiting for the Kindle team to fix their whole software engine to give us better font sizes, margins and line spacing options.
    This is something you talked about roughly 2.5 years ago on your blog post and that everyone agreed with and yet Amazon just fails to listen to what people want. This is frustrating because it’s so important.

    • I have one device that uses usb-c for charging and it’s a drone. Maybe I am not upper class enough to have the Oasis… It is carrying an extra cable FOR me to have usb-c. E

      Maybe just maybe Amazon is catering to period who spend more on books and readers than on the latest Pixel and iPhone. Those people might still be carrying around a 3 year old Motorola or a Galaxy s7, and Jay-Z would just be an inconvenience.

      • Sorry but I don’t see how Jay-Z comes into the conversation. But the fact remains that it doesn’t matter who Amazon wants to cater to or who their “intended market” is when the top comment on Amazon is a one star review due to a lack of USB-C. It slaps you in the face as a reminder of what the people want and consider important. Again, this is where Amazon failed to due their due diligence properly. A flagship device in my opinion should not have such a poor rating of hovering around 3.9, it should be the BEST but even the entry level kindle fares better in reviews.
        A lack of USB-C is ok on an entry level Kindle or even a Paperwhite, but on a $300 flagship device? People want the best and expect the best, whether they need it or not. Once again, perception. The message has been sent, the people have spoken. Majority rules.

        • My phone autocorrected usb-c to Jay-Z and I didn’t notice it.

          • That is fantastic. 5-star autocorrect.

          • It’s hard to imagine people caring around a four-year-old phone but a flagship single purpose device like an Oasis 3z Sorry but I don’t buy it and if it is true then it would be an absolute minority of people. We’re talking 1% Flagship people are “normally” techie lovers and gadget aficionados..

        • Those “flagship” buyers hate all things e-reader. They are the people who whose 1-star reviews say you’d be better off with an iPad or Samsung tablet because you can’t watch videos or see color on the Kindle.

          The worlds best ereader will never be the worlds latest and greatest gadget. The people who want that generally don’t buy ereaders.

  6. What about wireless charging? I’d rather have that on the next Kindle than USB C. 😀

    • Wireless charging is slow and nowhere near as fast as USB-C quick charge or Power Delivery. As of now wireless charging is purely a gimmick.

    • I’d take wireless charging over USB-C. Absolutely. If you sleep more than 4 hours per night, you have enough time for a wireless trickle charge. That’s one less point of potential hardware failure too. As a mechanical designer is a very similar space, I can almost guarantee that they’d sooner remove the port altogether than change from iMX 7 to the relatively unproven iMX 8M just for USB-C support. Also remember, iMX 7 is 6 years old and this is the first Kindle to use it (I think). It’s often a major architecture change going from one generation to the next, so why throw away the work they’ve done on 7 so soon?

      If people want to raise a fuss, they shouldn’t buy it. Negative reviews won’t mean a thing to Amazon once they’ve got your money.

      • Negative reviews can definitely sway people from purchasing it which will definitely affect Amazon’s Sales and bottom end. I remember when the Oasis 2 came out it was sold out for months, not so with this new model. I don’t know what Amazon’s expectations were but it’s obviously that demand is nowhere near what it used to be. And if the end-all be-all is making money and sales well then I think Amazon missed the mark here.

      • One other thing..
        Imagine how you can market and position USB-C. Huge! Most people don’t need it or even know about it but you can market it as “fast Charging” “Data Transfer Speeds” “Convenience” “First e-ink device in the industry”etc. All else being equal, this alone marketed correctly would have made a huge difference in sales and demands. It would be the first eReader to have USB-C and along with comfort light would have swayed more people into purchasing it. You can’t just copy whatever one else is doing at some point you have to innovate in order to position yourself as a leader. All this talk about how USB-C isn’t necessary are missing the point entirely.

  7. I think for people who are really devoted to tech and really into it the type of charging cord it comes with is important. I enjoy tech but I just consider myself an average buyer. Maybe because with the exception of my phone none of my other devices are the not lastest or greatest but I really don’t care one way or the other. The type of charging cord is really the last thing I look at it. In other words, its not the deciding factor for me. Can I do what I need to do on the device is more important to me.

  8. None of my devices have USB-C – not my tablet, ereader, or Kindle. That includes the phone I bought last week and the one I bought last November.

    USB-C may be the “standard” but there are still a ton of new devices sold with the old plugs.

  9. I agree with Liza. I have NO devices that have USB-C, but I do have one that charges wirelessly. It is also 3 years old.

    I suspect that if you actually polled the average Amazon customer, especially the average Amazon customer who buys ebooks, you will find that many do not have the latest devices other than their ereader. The average Amazon ebook customer is more likely to be 55 than 25. Adding back the ability to have test to speech and adding Audible was not due to fan requests, it was due to lawsuits brought by American Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Boomers going blind. (This includes my father, who is down to 10% vision.)

    • That is so true. Young techies are not the target market for Kindles at all. That’s why it’s so surprising that Amazon still refuses to release a larger Kindle for older folks with diminishing eyesight.

      • Amazing that they are one of last companies to go large…surely if there were a larger, less slippery device with light temperature control, Amazon would have sold more units.
        While USB-C is not important to me it would be a selling point that costs Amazon little.

    • OK then let me ask you this, if USB-C is not important, and a young audience is not Amazon’s target market for Kindles, then why is it that the most helpful comment with the most upvotes on Amazon right now is a one star review due to a lack of USB-C? Could it somehow, some way, just maybe be because it’s actually what people want, young or old? I think so. The people have spoken. People want USB-C, it is important to them. The proof is in the pudding, right there for everyone to see. It doesn’t matter what you or I think, what we can speculate on. Facts are facts, We can discuss it all day about how it’s not important or it’s not fair or necessary but there’s no denying that it’s the number one most up voted comment on Amazon. Just facts.

      • Amazon has more facts than us. It’s that simple. 400 helpful votes on a 1 star review about USB-C might mean little to nothing to the company that has actual numbers on sales and trends of Kindles and USB-C products and cables. There are millions of Kindle owners all over the world. This one review and the 400 people that like it might mean nothing if the sales numbers for the Oasis 3 exceed Amazon’s expectations. Amazon has number crunchers that can tell Bezos almost exactly how much a USB-C Oasis would sell and what the return would be on including the feature.

        There is a 4-star review right below it that has 53 less helpful votes (for 385 total helpful). It mentions micro-USB as a negative as well, but still gives the device a very positive review. 74% of the total reviews are 4 stars or higher as well.

        The fact is there are a lot of metrics to judge the success and failure of the device against. It’s not like Amazon is ignorant of USB-C. It’s just for now they seem to find micro makes more sense for the Kindles.

        • +1 helpful comment

        • I used to be naive like that. Companies are filled with flawed people. They are not godlike in wisdom and knowledge. It is just as likely that they simply saved money by keeping as much of the Oasis 2 design as they could without regard to how it would be greeted. Especially when you have a monopoly there is little reason to put time and effort into carefully thought out design.

        • The negative one star review due to a lack of USB-C is breaking away with the lead as the most helpful Oasis 3 review. The people have spoken, USB-C matters. Facts are facts.

  10. It can’t possibly take 3 tries to insert a micro-USB cable 😳

  11. Everyone I know including myself will only buy rechargeable products with usb-c now. It makes things so much easier if we need to borrow a cable or charge in each others’ cars. It’s ridiculous to release any products without it.

    Also, they need to implement it correctly, unlikely the Raspberry Pi 4. Not all products with a usb-c port can be charged with a usb-c to usb-c cable either, which is annoying. I boycott those products and companies.

  12. I’m guessing Amazon hasn’t switched to USB-C because their customer data for Kindle users doesn’t indicate a want for it. I know this sounds crazy to the posters here, but Amazon’s target audience for Kindle probably likes being able to use the same cable from their old Kindle on their new device. If you want to talk about convenience, that’s what the data is telling Amazon.

    I have exactly 3 devices that use USB-C, and 2 are from Nintendo and the other I use on my Nintendo Switch. My anecdotal evidence, much like every poster here, doesn’t matter at all to Amazon.

    There will clearly be a tipping point and you can bet Amazon has numbers on how many USB-C cables are out there and what that means for Kindle users. Maybe the next generation devices will have them. Maybe they are seeing demographics change. They certainly are aware of these reviews.

  13. I would like usb c on my fire tablet too.

  14. That review and the comment thread it spawned contain laughably false information, so I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in the opinions of people who agree with it. Plus it was one of the first reviews posted; given time, other reviews that covered more than just the port will overtake it.

  15. How about the possibility that Amazon (and their manufacturer) have about 10 million female micro-USB ports in their inventory and we won’t see an Amazon device with USB-C until these are used up. Follow the money.

  16. I don’t see the big deal. Oasis charges fast as it is. And the battery on the new oasis is not that great. I can probably go 10 days between charges and I read between 20 minutes to an hour a day

  17. I don’t see the big deal, but I see these complaints everywhere too.

  18. Guess I need to go like that post giving it a 1 star.

    My phone uses a usb-c and I have heard that i-phones will be moving to usb-c in the future.

    There is no way that I will buy another kindle that has micro-usb and be stuck with a device for years that requires me to bring multiple cables when going on vacation.

    At the very least, move the paperwhite and oasis to usb-c and leave the budget at micro. Gives people a choice at least.

  19. USB-C would be amazing to have on the new Oasis. A pretty great alternative is wireless charging! Here’s how to add it to the new Kindle Oasis for under $8:

  20. A major issue is that all micro-USB ports eventually fail. They’re a weak point in the design. USB-C is inherently more robust.

    Just my observations… For what they’re worth.

  21. Micro USB is terrible. Not because it has to be plugged in one direction. Not because of the speed of data transfer or the speed of charging. It’s terrible because it breaks faster than any other component of the device. The format was sold on its 10,000 plug lifespan, but the cables never make it that long. The passive latch mechanism leads to cable failure, and attempts to get the cable to work leads to wiggling of the cable… which leads to port failure.

  22. I have a 2017 Kindle Oasis which suits me fine, but I’ll seriously consider upgrading if Amazon ever come out with a USB type C e-reader.

    I’ve always hated micro USB 2.0 and found it hard to use because it’s hard to see and hard to wrestle cables into, and breaks fairly often. My Lightning devices are much less stress. (Micro USB 3.0 isn’t as bad; at least you can see which way up it is because the distinction between the straight and wobbly lines are much clearer than straight and with a very slight curve).

    The slightness of the curve means it’s really difficult to see, especially if it’s recessed into a case or the device itself. I can now manage with my Kindle without too much pain by looking for the cable end with a single seam on the metal bit as opposed to the one with two, but that’s not even standardised.

    I can see why Amazon don’t want to move it: e-ink has a lot of legacy devices as opposed to smartphone/tablets which change regularly. Even more importantly, changing it would presumably require significant expense and changes in their entire supply-chain, when everything except Echo (proprietary) and one of their Fire tablets is probably still on USB 2.0 micro-B.

    I do hope they do make the jump to USB type C, though. It just works so much better.