The Kindle Fire, he wrote, offers a "disappointingly poor user experience." "Everything is much too small on the screen," and the device "suffers from plain old bad UI design." The device itself is "heavy" and "unpleasant to hold," he said.
Now everybody’s piling on, it seems, slamming the Kindle Fire for low quality.
These three strategic products from three major technology companies represent a cycle of hype and backlash that's common in the industry. Such whiplash-inducing changes in the direction of the conventional wisdom leave the lay public confused about whether major products or technologies are worth buying or not, and whether they will succeed in the future.
Here's the key to understanding this phenomenon: It's all a by-product of the global hive-mind grappling with its own expectations.
Whether anything is "good" or "bad," whether it's "expensive" or "cheap" or whether it's "easy to use" or "hard to use" all depend on expectations.
In the case of Apple's Siri, Google's Plus and Amazon's Kindle Fire, they all took the industry by surprise. Siri was far better at handling natural-language queries than expected; Plus it was cleaner and cooler than expected; and the Kindle Fire was cheaper and more thoroughly tied to Amazon cloud services than expected.
So they got early praise. They beat expectations and nothing more.
But the praise raised everyone's expectations. So later reports registered disappointment. Actual use compared unfavorable to the breathless positive reviews from weeks or months ago. They failed to live up to expectations and nothing more.
The truth is that all these products are ground-breaking, trendsetting winners that will grow massively in usage and influence. All of them will help their respective companies crush less innovative competitors. And all of them will get better and better with each new iteration.
Whether subsequent iterations will be praised or pilloried will depend as much on what reviewers expect as what companies can deliver.
The self-important pundit echo chamber must always be taken with a grain of salt. So ignore the hype -- and the backlash -- and always consider the facts.
And when it comes to making your own decisions about a purchase, there's no better-qualified expert than you.