Why Does the Web Browser Still Suck on Kindles?


New Kindle

One of the strange things about Kindles is Amazon has always referred to the web browser as “experimental”.

In fact the Kindle’s web browser has been experimental for over 10 years now. At this point it’s safe to assume it’s never going to move past the experimental stage, but why don’t they ever improve it?

Whenever I used to try to use the Kindle’s web browser for anything it would lock up or crash half the time.

Some folks used to say they could use the web browser to checkout ebooks from their library, but I could never get it past the library login page without crashing.

Over the years we’ve been conditioned to expect web browsers to suck on E Ink devices, in part because of the Kindle’s experimental web browser an other crummy E Ink browsers, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case in 2020.

The truth is E Ink web browsers could be a lot more useful than they currently are; the technology has improved over the years. Refresh rates are faster and smoother than they used to be.

The web browser on Onyx’s ereaders is actually pretty usable. It automatically optimizes the text for E Ink, scrolling is smooth and it will refresh after scrolling. There’s a full screen mode and on-screen buttons for navigating as well.

It works much better than the Kindle’s web browser ever has. You’re not going to use it for watching videos or anything like that, but when it comes to reading articles it works pretty well.

The Kindle’s web browser could be a lot better. After all, the majority of the web still consists of text, and Kindles are supposed to be best for reading so why can’t reading web articles be included?

At the very least why isn’t there a send-to-Kindle option from the Kindle’s web browser? You could just hit a button and have the web page sent to the Kindle as a nicely-formatted ebook. They already have this feature for other web browsers and apps so why can’t the Kindle do it itself?

9 Responses to “Why Does the Web Browser Still Suck on Kindles?”

  1. There is even open-source browsers like Chromium. Latest Microsoft Edge is based on Chromium. There is no reason why Amazon could not make a Chromium based browser as well.

  2. The reason is simple enough: Monopoly. They (Amazon) is not pressed to do anything. Until there is some competition, I do not expect big change in their business model. Or, if e-ink (or similar) technology gets some breakthrough, and Android devices with Kindle application become mainstream, Amazon could awake.

  3. Their Silk browser isn’t the only thing that is problematic. The last Netflix update rendered the app on my Kindle HD Fire DOA. I checked online and many others are complaining also. The Amazon help can only recommend wiping the device to factory and trying to upload the app (and everything else I used to have)from scratch. Amazon people are polite, but the company isn’t eager to improve the tech.

  4. The reason is that the ‘experimental’ web browser on the kindles is only there so that you can connect to motel or coffeeshop wifi hotspots that require you to visit a page to accept terms and conditions or provide some logon credentials. It does that job Ok. Anything more would be a time sink that would realize no revenue. Someone who really wants to surf the web will whip out a $50 Amazon tablet instead.

  5. Also, why aren’t kindles better at handling bible (koran etc) features like speedy book, chapter:verse access, parallel editions, word references? personally, I just use my phone, there’s no point trying, on the Kindle. I need to try using a bible app on my Boox.

    My suspicion is that the answer to this is that Amazon doesn’t have (particularly) religious people. And I suspect the answer to why the browser is unusable is that Amazon doesn’t have people who care about e-ink. Google sheets on Android is the same, it is obvious nobody at Google has ever tried to get anything done on a spreadsheet from their phone. Ever. Recently, Elon Musk indicated he did zero market research before designing the cyber truck. One nice feature is that it has mirror angles for continuously signaling distress to planes, which is handy. All ot would take is one person who has ever owned a pickup truck to fix a lot of problems with the design, revealing that nobody at tesla has experience with pickups.

    Here is my theory: we have a decorative “diversity” in corporations that deceives. Five type A guys who each went to three ivy leagues with honors are literally just the same guy/gal. Like how you can change the appearance of your avatar in many games, but where the changes have no impact on you later.

    Consider this, what major ceo gets lost in the library?

    the old system brought in many personality types. it had to, they needed people. now, western companies scour the globe for every over the max type A. they’re not yes men because they want to get ahead. they’re yes men because the all see everything the same way.

  6. Getting a good e-ink browser was one of the reasons I had for getting a Likebook Mars. I normally use Firefox on it and also have Chrome installed. While I appreciate that the Kindle’s expermental browser has Article mode, it doesn’t have much else going for it. It doesn’t even work well with Wikipedia, the site that Kindles send you to the most. If an article has a lot of references, Wikipedia puts them in multiple columns, and the experimental browser tries to stuff the body of the article in the first column, which makes it smaller.

  7. I’m with Vladimir; the browser is enough to do what absolutely has to be provided, but they don’t have any incentive to make it better. That’s the same reason that they don’t have a good read it later service – they’d rather have you buy a magazine subscription.

  8. I’m kind of happy that the web browser sucks. 🙂 To me, my e-reader is to read, not look things up. I know that I can use the browser if I absolutely have to… but I rarely do.

    If I need to look something up at night, I can reach over to my phone. During the day.. I’ve got my cell phone, iPad, and/or multiple computers.

  9. I don’t use it often, but its useful and not linked to my google account so when reading thrillers and action books I can look up the codes given for guns to know what on earth they are. I’m English so we don’t feel the need to carry or know about guns. Although that could be for all the civilised world.