Amazon blames poor Fire Phone sales on the pricing, ignores other problems


fire phone design

Despite its name, the Amazon Fire Phone has not been a hot seller. Last week Amazon shared financial data with investors, and they reported a huge quarterly loss. The Amazon Fire phone was likely not the lone culprit of the poor numbers, but it certainly did not help. Amazon themselves have talked about why they think the Fire Phone hasn’t sold as much as they hoped.

“I think people come to expect a great value, and we sort of mismatched expectations. We thought we had it right. But we’re also willing to say, ‘we missed.’ And so we corrected.”

– Amazon Senior VP David Limp

The $200 price of the Fire Phone was definitely a surprise move. Amazon usually prices their products very competitively, as we’ve seen with the super cheap Kindle Fire line. Still. that was hardly the only problem for the device. The UI is weird and clunky, the hardware is very uninspiring, and they advertise it on TV with kids. I’m not really sure that depicting kids using your device is a message they wanted to send.

The good news is that the Fire Phone can now be had for free with a new contract. Does that sweeten the deal any more? Only time will tell. What do you think of the Amazon Fire Phone?

[via Fortune]

Joe Fedewa
Ever since I flipped open my first phone I've been obsessed with the devices. I've dabbled in other platforms, but Android is where I feel most at home.

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  1. Sorry but being locked into any ecosystem is just a non-starter for me.

  2. they need android market access and amazon prime extra benefits.

    1. Android Market? What is this, 2011?

      1. he means to say, the play store.

  3. Most consumers are now used to familiarity. The fire phone looks nothing like Android so consumers shy away from it. It’s just too different.

  4. Too exclusive: Amazon and AT&T. I don’t use AT&T and I don’t want to be locked to Amazon’s market. Also too expensive for what you get, and on contract. I’m contract free these days, so a Nexus-like arrangement would be better. They do it with the Fire tablet, why not the phone?

  5. Nope. I played with it and it’s crap. Really terrible interface for a phone, plus Amazon Maps cannot give you directions from Point A to Point B.

    1. Amazon Maps?!? Really? LOL!

      1. Or whatever they called it. Either way, it made Apple maps look great.

  6. LOL…Amazon’s execs must be getting the wool pulled over their eyes because the pricing wasn’t the only problem with that phone! Talk about blind to consumers true needs and requests…hahaha

  7. I wanted get that phone with $50 cash back..,

  8. we have like 3 of them at work. everyone hated them even my manger(the one who bought them) hated it. people prefer iphones and some galaxy phones

  9. Locked into AT&T. Carrier exclusives kill a lot of things.

  10. $200 *with* a contract??! Holy crap, America, your phone deals suck!

    1. You have no idea. Buying an iPhone a few years ago in South Africa would have almost bankrupted the average person working and living there. Trust me, it’s not that bad in America. You pay $65-90/month even in Canada if you go with a high-end device on a 2-year contract (if you’re even remotely interested in having a somewhat decent amount of data and decent service). I hope that the European mobile service industry is doing better than North America as far as service and reasonable prices go.

      1. They are. You can get unlimited data for around $40/month. It shocked me when I went to grab a sim when traveling in Ireland, and Three was actively encouraging me to use VOIP for all my calls…and service was rock solid.

  11. They need to “Fire” sale them, like HP did with the Touchpads.

  12. Next time make them unlocked LTE and watch them sell. Keep is around $300

    1. ..and get rid of the terrible Fire OS and put actual android on it without skins or pointless bloatware.

  13. Growing up in a communist country made me dislike anything that ties me into anything , that’s why I do not like eco systems , don’t buy iPhone . I love Amazon ,I buy most of my stuff from them , but I will not get their tablets or phones, so they can shove stuff down my throat. Long live Nexus and prepaid plans!

    1. But the nexus uses the Google eco system. Any tablet or phone you buy now days means you are using an eco system., be it Google, Amazon, iOS or windows.

      1. No it’s not. You don’t have to use Gmail, Google play, Maps, etc …I have a choice , I can use Nokia maps, Bing , and Amazon app store, if I please , I can have a clean functional phone without any Google apps , if I want . AOSP

        1. You don’t have to use the default aps that come with Amazon either. You don’t have access to the play store, but you can still side load apps and use other mail clients, map software etc., admittedly its not as straight forward as getting them off the play store, but if you are saying you are not tied to the Google eco system, then you would also have to side load the apps so as not to be tied to using the Google apps to do so. Either way you can then side load whatever you like.

  14. “With contract to AT&T” is a bigger price than the phone itself. $200 seems like a big price to consumers (who think phones are free), but that’s small compared to the lock-in (and the other issues mentioned in this post).

    As a developer I’m intrigued by the rotation-based UI elements, but I can’t devote development time to features only a tiny portion of my user base will be able to use. In turn, that means less apps making best use of their novel features – it’s a vicious cycle.

  15. Kudos for them at least admitting they botched up the pricing. Try and get another major player to do that, not gonna happen.

  16. If the pricing were that much of an issue, they would’ve lowered it sooner. They didn’t want to admit failure, so they remarketed it and only after that failure did they offer it up for free on a plan. Guess what? Still a failure. It’s an app, not a phone, and should be treated as such. See FB for this exact same thing. The best thing they can do now, and by all rights should do, is tweak out the kernel and rebrand the things as Kindle Mini’s. Hell, they could even get away with a 2nd version at 6″ that way. Think about it… An LTE (or CDMA if brevity isn’t your thing…) capable smaller fully loaded Kindle with Amazon Prime features that makes phone calls for say, $149ish? On a contract for $99 or less.

  17. So Fire Phone II is going to be a CHEAP no Google Play having dumbed down Android phone that sucks…..

  18. It isn’t so much that they used kids, it’s that the kids they used were annoying as all hell (the characters, I’m sure the real children are wonderful people).

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