Amazon's Fire Phone: A Series of Unfortunate Mistakes

Amazon released their Fire Phone much to the joy of Amazon fans everywhere. However, several mistakes have resulted in a rather lackluster launch and slow sales during 2014. The price point, senior VP of devices David Limp stated, was one of the big mistakes Amazon made right out the door.

The first big mistake was choosing such a high price point for the Fire Phone. When it launched, the price sat at a pretty $199 for 32 GB ($299 for 64 GB), which is fairly typical for consumers who choose to renew or sign a new 2-year contract. However, the price wasn’t low enough to get sales where they needed to be. So, predictably, Amazon cut the price significantly to $99, which helped boost sales--just in time for the release of the iPhone 6.

The iPhone 6 caused more problems for Amazon, as consumers waited in line (some for over 24 hours) in order to get the device on day one. The iPhone 6 sold more than 4 million units in its first day, and nearly 40 million in the launch quarter. Amazon admits that it currently has almost $82 million in stock of unsold devices.

However, unlike some of the more notable mobile companies, Amazon was quick to rectify its mistake and even admitted that it had misjudged the value consumers were expecting. The company was also quick to acknowledge and resolve issues that plagued consumers on launch. 

Even so, the Fire Phone has had mixed reviews since its release. From overheating to crashing and freezing; Amazon has had to release several patches in order to address these issues, including WiFi connectivity--arguably one of the most important features on a smartphone. However, many critics praised its use of gesture-based navigation (tilting the phone one way or another to scroll) and the inclusion of its MayDay service, an instant customer service platform available to Kindle users.

The major downside to the Fire is its exclusivity to AT&T. Not only does this exclude a major portion of smartphone users in the United States, but it also excludes international users.

Despite the rough year the phone has had, Amazon is taking some pretty big risks in order to compete in what some claim to be an oversaturated market. Amazon has stated that even with the rocky start, they will continue to develop Fire Phones and hopefully increase both its usability and number of service providers in the future.

Will you invest in a Fire Phone? Would you consider switching carriers in order to get your hands on one? Was the starting price point Amazon’s only mistake, or does the exclusivity make the situation even worse for a budding mobile phone company? What features would you like to see in the Fire’s future lineup?

Your thoughts and comments below please...


Image courtesy of Ireland’s Technology Blog.




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