Feb. 3, 2012 at 11:34 AM ET
A new survey shows that Kindle Fire owners are happiest with the low cost of their devices, but among their gripes are a lack of volume buttons and a camera as well as a short battery life.
ChangeWave Research polled 254 new Kindle Fire owners about their overall satisfaction with the device, as well as key likes and dislikes, and found that their experience with the tablet is far less positive than that of iPad owners — but it still ranks above other tablets.
The survey asked the owners how satisfied they were with their new Kindle Fire, and 54 percent responded "Very Satisfied," while 38 percent gave a "Somewhat Satisfied" rating.
A ChangeWave survey of iPad owners in November revealed a much higher percentage of "Very Satisfied" in that crowd: 74 percent.
The survey highlights some aspects of the device that might have contributed to that lower percentage of satisfaction amongst Kindle Fire owners. No volume up/down button seemed to annoy them the most, with 27 percent responding that this was what they disliked most about the device. (It happens to be what we disliked most about it, right at launch.) The absence of a camera also ranked high (21 percent), as did a perceived shortness in battery life (15 percent).
Despite those shortcomings, Kindle Fire owners did like some things very much: the $199 price tag (59 percent made this the top "like" for the device), the color screen (31 percent) and how easy it is to use (27 percent).
AllThingsD reported that one analyst estimated 5.5 million Kindle Fires sold last quarter, up from a previous estimates of 4.5 million. His prediction was that Amazon would sell 18.4 million this year. (Another analyst has much higher expectations of the iPad, predicting 48 million will sell this year.) GeekWire reported that Seattle, where Amazon itself is based, ranks first in Kindle Fire ownership: 1 in 124 residents use it.
Perhaps the key takeaway of the ChangeWave survey is not how people like the device, but how they relate to the retailer who provided it: Tellingly, ChangeWave found that 29 percent of Kindle Fire owners will spend more money at the giant online store in the next 90 days, vs. 19 percent of non-owners. With results like that, it's clear why Amazon sells the $199 Kindle Fire at a loss.