In the couple of weeks since complaints about the Oasis’s battery cover not properly charging the reader started to come out, more people have found the magnetic charging connector to be an issue. Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader has done a fine job of pulling together a number of reports on the matter, including his own experiences with a borrowed Oasis review unit. Nate found that his own Kindle died after just three days of light reading, though he never thought to check the charge on the case at that point. A number of other Oasis owners are having similar issues.
Perhaps most interesting is the case of the owner who got an error message saying that the Oasis had been connected to an “unauthorized” cover when he connected it to the one that came with the Oasis. This suggests that Amazon has incorporated elements of DRM into the case connection, meaning that anyone who wants to make their own Kindle charging unit has to license that tech from Amazon. Not that this is necessarily a hardship for the average user, given that the Kindle comes with its own perfectly serviceable battery cover (or, at least, perfectly serviceable assuming it works properly), but if true, it’s an unfortunate sign of the proliferation of access control measures that serve as profit protection measures.
As I noted before, the use of magnetic charging connectors is one of the more annoying design flaws of the Pebble watch, though the Pebble’s new firmware does make it easier to tell when the watch is properly charging. It’s not hard to believe that the magnetic Kindle Oasis cover connector would have the exact same flaw.
That being said, however, it’s hard to tell from a lot of anecdotal accounts exactly how widespread this flaw really is—every single person who has the issue will complain, but hardly anybody will ever speak up to say they don’t have the issue. It could be that the vast majority of Oasis owners’ battery covers are charging their devices perfectly well, but they don’t feel the need to say so.
I emailed Amazon’s press contact some questions about how widespread the issue is, but hadn’t heard back from them at press time—nor do I really expect to. In any event, one of the best things about Amazon is its customer service and technical support, so anyone who is having this kind of issue will probably not have much trouble getting it resolved. But for those to whom it is happening, it will surely be very annoying.