Jun 5th, 2017 publishUpdated   Sep 12th, 2021, 1:56 pm

Remember the Amazon Fire Phone? It was the company’s first shot at creating their own smartphone, and it wasn’t at all successful. Well, they seemingly want another shot at things, with NDTV reporting that the company is working on 2 smartphones under an “ice” codename.

Apparently, we’re looking at devices in the 5.2- to 5.5-inch range, both with Snapdragon 435 chipsets, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 13MP camera, and a fingerprint sensor. The report even suggests we’re getting Google Assistant, which could be a hint that Amazon is biting the bullet on offering their first Google Play device.

The prospect of an Amazon phone seemed quite interesting before it was announced, but it ultimately fell flat on its face due to an ill-fated carrier exclusivity deal with AT&T, an inflated price tag for its worth, and just an overall “meh” experience. It also didn’t help that Amazon was keen on using their own fork of Android over something Google-powered.

That phone went on to sell just under 35,000 units, which is a bonafide failure in the smartphone world (especially for a company like Amazon, which already uses its massive eCommerce chops to push smartphones from other companies). In fact, it received perhaps our lowest score ever for phones we’ve reviewed, with it mustering a rating of just 2.5 out of 5.

Even with supposed plans for Google Assistant support, it’s likely Amazon’s focus this time will be on pushing an Alexa-powered experience in their race against Google for AI assistant dominance. Alexa is a solid foundation to build on in that regard, but we somehow feel Amazon will need a lot more than that to get people to buy another one of their phones:

  • As big as Amazon’s Appstore is, it doesn’t hold a candle to Google Play. Not only does Amazon host less apps, but more often than not developers neglect their Amazon listings and leave users waiting for updates far longer than Google Play users have to. We’ve seen what happens to platforms which can’t attract a lot of apps.
  • It needs a reasonable price tag (rumor says it’ll go for less than $100), especially if they expect people to pay for it out of pocket.
  • If they don’t expect people to pay for it out of pocket, it better be on more carriers than AT&T.
  • And it better have a really strong marketing campaign to back it.
  • And it better cut back on the gimmicks of the original Fire phone that amounted to little more than forgettable parlor tricks.
  • And it better not be shoving ads in our face when we’re trying to do something as simple as turning on WiFi.

Well, that’s just our short, early list of “no-nos,” anyway. Would you give Amazon a chance if they were to make another Fire phone?

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