Amazon to abandon development of Fire Phone

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This week a report in the Wall Street Journal claims that Amazon is set to abandon plans to develop any new smartphones, after the failure of its Android-based Fire Phone.

Fire Phone failure

The WSJ report stated:

“In recent weeks Amazon has dismissed dozens of engineers who worked on its Fire phone at Lab126, its secretive hardware-development center in Silicon Valley, according to people familiar with the matter”.

“The company told some smartphone engineers earlier this year that further phone development would be shelved, though one of the people said Amazon has shifted the effort to its hometown of Seattle…”.

The Fire Phone received quite mixed reviews – many of the more negative ones focused on its gesture-control 3D camera feature being too gimmicky, but most cited its high price of $649 and the fact that it didn’t live up to similar devices at the same price. The company later slashed the price of the Fire Phone to just $199 with a free Amazon Prime subscription, or just $0.99 on a contract.

Later in the year, the price dropped to just $30 (net price) before being withdrawn from sale, leading Amazon to write off more than $170 million in unsold inventory.

The Wall Street Journal also says that the Fire Phone’s failure hit morale at the Lab127 unit in which it was designed with some of those employees already leaving the company.

Amazon has not yet ruled out a later attempt at another smartphone, but sources apparently say it has “stretched out its timeline for smartphone development indefinitely”.

Amazon is now reportedly focusing its electronic devices efforts on smart home devices – there’s already a high end computer for the kitchen in the works, codenamed Kabinet, which will serve as a hub for an Internet-connected home.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal.

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