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Dousing the flame of the Amazon Fire Phone: the flop of the year

News by Luke Jones on Monday September 08, 2014.

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The Fire Phone has flopped
The Fire Phone has flopped

Amazon's Fire Phone is the flop of the year, and there is no getting away from the fact that it has been since day one. Despite having a few standout features and an admittedly solid smartphone experience, the Fire Phone has fallen flat with consumers in a big way, showing that Amazon seriously overestimated how easily people would want to buy into its ecosystem.

They didn't want to buy into it all and the device has just not sold, with sales struggling to even reach the hundreds of thousands. What the Fire Phone does for Amazon's long term smartphone plans is unclear, but I assume the company will not be rushing to make another handset. The most recent estimates show that only 35,000 units of the Fire Phone have sold, a disastrous number for what is a flagship device.

Amazon released a press release today to reveal that the Fire Phone is now available for just $1 (0.99 in fact) in the US on contract, and off contract has been slashed $449. At just two months old, the Fire Phone has fallen a very long way in a very short time, originally costing $199 on contract and a whopping $649 off contract. Amazon released this device as a full flagship competitor and priced as such, but it is clear that nothing was going to ignite this fire.

That leads to the question, what was Amazon thinking? In releasing the Fire Phone the company said that it was the Amazon way or the highway, forgetting that the highway meant a normal Android experience with full apps and a lot more choice. I use Amazon, and I am certainly not alone in that, but how dedicated an Amazon customer do you have to be to buy wholesale into the company's ecosystem and ethos? Extremely dedicated seems to be the answer, and only around 35,000 people appear to like Amazon THAT much.

So, will the extreme drop in price salvage the Fire Phone? Well, it may boost sales figures in the short term, while the handset launching in the UK soon and other markets thereafter may also add some coverage. However, how does Amazon now price its flagship in other markets? Surely the company cannot ask premium money for a device the whole world knows is flopping, there is simply no foothold in the market for the company to do so.

Of course, there is an upside for the consumer because there is now a flagship baiting smartphone on the market for mid-range money. Indeed, the failure of the Fire Phone has little to do with whether it is a good smartphone or not, it simply is. Instead, the over reliance on Amazon's software and ecosystem killed its chances, and the retailer was a touch arrogant in how it thought consumers would react to its Fire Phone. It is game over already for Amazon in terms of the Fire Phone and the company is certainly going to lose a lot of money with this device.

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About the author

Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.

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