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Old 07-03-2010, 01:36 AM   #1
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[OFFICIAL] Why did Kobo change the Sleep/Power Off behaviour?

Hello,
For those of you who don't know me, I'm a Product Manager at Kobo, and it is my responsibility to plan and prioritize what features we build on the Kobo Reader.

I've been reading a lot of feedback on the new Sleep and Power Off features, and I thought I would give everyone here some more context on why we chose the implementation we did.

When we decide what features we are going to build or change, we gather feedback from many places. We consider what is happening in the eReader market, we do some brainstorming, but most importantly, we listen to our customers.

We have a number of sources that we look to: MobileRead is a large part of that, as is talking to customers directly, but one of the most important places we get feedback is from customers who contact us directly - often when they are having issues with their Kobo Readers.

Two things kept on coming up:
1) Why is my battery life so low?
2) How do I know the Kobo Reader is off?

#2 might seem silly to everyone here on MobileReader, as it says on the screen 'Press Power to turn on your Reader', but this community is only a portion of our customers. Many of our customers didn't see the small text below the cover art.

To resolve these two customer pain points, we made two changes:

1) Your Kobo Reader will now go to sleep after 15 minutes. This was the best balance between usability and battery life.
2) Your Kobo Reader will power off after being idle for 30 minutes, and a new very obvious power off screen will appear.

Both of these work in tandem to solve our customers biggest issues.

One important piece of feedback we've had since we launched the firmware update is that you like that cover art on the power screen. No, like is too soft. You LOVE it. Some of you have said it was actually your favourite feature about the Kobo Reader.

Sometimes when trying to balance what are trying to accomplish, we miss the small things, and this is clearly one of those cases.

Here is what we're going to do to make it better: in the next firmware update we release, we will add a new setting. You will be able to change the Power Off screen to be either the new "Power Off" page, or you can change to the behaviour we had before, with the cover, and a small "turn the power on" message.

Let me talk about one more thing before I close this very long post: a number of you are asking why the sleep and power durations are set as they are and not configurable.

One of the things that's very important to us is that your Kobo lasts as long as it possibly can. In discussions with our hardware team, we've discovered that anything longer than the options we've set would impact the lifetime of your battery. If we had longer settings, we would have to replace the battery well before the normal lifespan of your Kobo is up. That's the last thing we want to do - we want you to enjoy using your Kobo as long as possible.

The one thing I will commit to doing is trying to speed up the 'Boot from Off' time. Our development team thinks are opportunities for big improvements there, and I think that's the real concern here, and less about the sleep time.

That being said, I'd love to hear more about this from you.

Thanks for reading this, and thanks for being part of our early access program. The feedback is invaluable and helps us make the Kobo Reader better for everyone.

TL;DR

And the short version for those who don't want to read that whole thing:
- We want to let you change the off screen to a cover, and will in our next update.
- We will try to speed up the boot time, so powering off isn't such a pain.
- We can't change the sleep/power duration as it will eat into your batteries natural life. If you don't care about that, let us know and maybe we can find a solution.

Thanks,
Jordan Christensen
Product Manager
Kobo Inc.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:50 AM   #2
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Thanks for taking time to come back to us. As far as I'm concern, a nice thing when powering up the device would be to go directly to the page I was on, that would speed up things for me.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:59 AM   #3
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First of all, thank you for the explanation, Jordan.

Secondly, it looks like you don't want to be replacing batteries on Kobos when they do not live up to their expected life. I can understand that from a business point of view. However, as a customer I feel like I am forced to "take it" as this solution is worse than the original problem in my opinion.

I really do dislike this new "feature" and now regret doing the update. Can you tell me how much I can expect the battery life to be cut without this feature? As technology changes and advances it seems that batteries often outlive the devices. Perhaps the decrease in battery life really won't be an issue for a casual reader such as myself.

Anyway, I do appreciate that you, Michael, and Sameer are on here keeping us up to date and explaining these things. It really is nice to see a company as involved with their customer base as you have been.

Edit: As Marnom mentioned above. If the reader was powered off while in a book, it would be nice if it returned to the book, and page, when powered back on. That alone would give the appearance of a faster startup and would make me happier.

Last edited by RedRoverJ; 07-03-2010 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:02 AM   #4
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Hi jordan, thanks so much for the detailed explanations, they are appreciated even if I don't 100% agree

Personally, I couldn't care less about the power off cover art, but the auto power off is just a show stopper for me and I think MANY others.

So if you're going to offer an option for the power off art, then PLEASE offer an option to disable the auto power off.

Kobo's concern for my battery life is commendable but I'll take slightly reduced battery lifetime over greatly increased functionality . It should be my choice to make, not Kobo's.

Realistically by the time the battery is in really poor condition, probably 2 years or so, the whole e- reader market will have moved forward incredibly (mirasol etc) and the current Kobo will probably be many peoples' backup reader.

Thanks again, and I look forward to the next release soon.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:10 AM   #5
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Although I was just able to get the new firmware onto my reader, I've been following everyone's opinions on the whole auto power down issue. That part doesn't bug me very much, because for me, if I've left the device for 30 minutes, chances are I'm not going to be coming back to it very quickly. I don't think the start up time is that awful, so again, it's not an issue. The only thing I don't like is the cover art not being displayed, so I'm glad that the next firmware upgrade will bring this feature back. We all know not all of us can be pleased all of the time, so hopefully there will be a feature to disable the automatic power down so nearly everyone can be satisfied.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:14 AM   #6
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Jordan: Thank you for taking the time to clarify this. The level of customer response and interaction from Kobo is really fantastic.

I understand where Kobo's engineers are coming from, and a faster boot-up time would help this problem a lot. But I think a lot of tech-savvy Kobo users would like to have more fine control over their device.

What if, in addition to the auto-sleep-and-shutdown, there were a manual sleep mode? Say, when you quick-press the power button, the Kobo would go into sleep mode and stay in that mode (and not shut down) until brought out of it?

That way, we could manually sleep our readers, put them down for a while, and when we came back they'd be quickly recoverable. But you'd still have that 30-minute failsafe option there for casual users, people who forget to power off their readers, etc.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:18 AM   #7
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Jordan; thanks for the discussion here. I do get a nice warm fuzzy feeling about Kobo, it's device and it's staff. Any openings?
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:19 AM   #8
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Question...I just pressed the power button to turn the reader off, and the cover came on the unit and says it's in sleep mode, and to press power to start reading.

I want to actually turn it off completely, so I pressed power, it went back to the I'm reading page, so I pressed power again, holding it down for about 5 seconds. Now displayed is the "welcome to your Kobo eReader" page telling me what to do to get started (the same screen that was on the device when I first got it).

Is this the new off page??
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:23 AM   #9
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Thanks for taking the time to explain this to us
I actually liked the cover being shown when the unit is off, so I'm glad to hear that it's coming back with the next update.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jestocost View Post
What if, in addition to the auto-sleep-and-shutdown, there were a manual sleep mode? Say, when you quick-press the power button, the Kobo would go into sleep mode and stay in that mode (and not shut down) until brought out of it?
+1 I like your way of thinking!
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCKobo View Post
- We can't change the sleep/power duration as it will eat into your batteries natural life. If you don't care about that, let us know and maybe we can find a solution.

Thanks,
Jordan Christensen
Product Manager
Kobo Inc.
Thanks for the offer, Mr Christensen. May I please put my hand up for said "solution". I never had a problem with battery life to start with, and has been said on this forum I'm not happy to trade off slightly extended product life for a significant drop in pleasure of use during that period of time. It is more than likely that the "useful life" will be over before the battery dies, or indeed that there will be an easily available replacement battery if there are a significant number of Kobos out there by then.

I appreciate that there are tricky decisions to be made with new "features", but really someone should be thinking these things through. For example, much comment has been made on here about how Kobo are "listening" to the discussions on this board and others, and yet nowhere did anyone at Kobo consider throwing the whole sleep/off thing around as an idea to see what came back. If they had I'm pretty sure you'd have got a clear idea what people thought.

Making a wrong decision and then backing up with the old "we know better what you want than you do, and we're not going to let you do it for your own benefit" sounds a lot more like Steve Jobs than Kobo though.

If it really is for the benefit of the general user base, then why not make it do this as a default, but allow the power-off to be disabled in a complex way? This isn't a difficult thing to do.

So, if you have a "solution" then you could make everyone happy. I look forward to hearing it. Don't discount the early adopters and technical hackers, they might not be large in number but they are the mavens who spread your product name around for free...



Charles
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthyScribe View Post
...so I pressed power again, holding it down for about 5 seconds. Now displayed is the "welcome to your Kobo eReader" page telling me what to do to get started (the same screen that was on the device when I first got it).

Is this the new off page??
This happened to me the first time I powered it down after the update too. Haven't seen it since. I assume a "FirstBoot" variable of some sort got reset somewhere during the upgrade.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:58 AM   #13
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Thanks Stinger...turned it back on then powered it down again (I shudder to think about what it's doing to my battery life!), and got the proper "off" page. I still like the cover art better, so I'll just have to be patient for the next upgrade.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:59 AM   #14
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What I would like in the next firmware....

  1. A return from "Power OFF" straight to the book and page being read - Book Art would be a nice option too as previously mentioned
  2. All books fully justified and having minimal left and right margins. Some books (ADE) leave about 1.4cm of margin each side, so there are not many words to a page.

John in Sunny Carnarvon - Western Australia
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Old 07-03-2010, 04:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jestocost View Post
... in addition to the auto-sleep-and-shutdown, there were a manual sleep mode? Say, when you quick-press the power button, the Kobo would go into sleep mode and stay in that mode (and not shut down) until brought out of it? ...
Jordan: my thanks as well for clarifying this issue. Think of the above suggestion this way. Although turning the Kobo back on is not a complicated or even lengthy process, for those of us used to just picking up our "book" and reading, it is an agravation that is oddly out of proportion to the cause. From my reading of various posts here and on the Kobo forums, there are many people who feel this way.

If the sleep mode had a manual version where, when it was entered by the user pressing the power button, the sleep mode would continue and there was no automatic power off, you would be saving some battery power since you would "sleep" your Kobo when you put it down, and not have it idle at reading power for the 15 minutes it takes to go to sleep. I think most of us could get used to sending the Kobo to sleep when we put it down the same way you put a bookmark in a paper book.

The way I look at it is this:
-if I send it to sleep, leave it sleeping until I wake it or turn it off.
-if it falls asleep, then it is OK to power it off if I don't come back in time.


Larry Mohr in Surrey, B.C.

Last edited by larrymohr; 07-03-2010 at 04:31 AM. Reason: fix quote
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