While Apple has unveiled its latest iPhones at the September 9 product launch, Amazon announced that it is discontinuing the Fire Phone. A search for the phone on the online retailer’s website returns with “we don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.”
As reported by CNBC, a company spokeswoman said that Amazon had sold its pending stock at the end of August and is not looking to sell more Fire Phones. The failure of Fire Phone to attract a larger customer base, which can be attributed to several factors – including poor battery life, limited app ecosystem and an AT&T exclusive, among others – has caused the company to discontinue its line of planned future phones and other hardware projects.
The Fire Phone, launched in June 2014, was Amazon’s first attempt at entering the smartphone market. Its main features included a “dynamic perspective” camera, with the ability to track users’ movements and give a 3D impression; 24 hour customer service tool; and a preloaded encyclopaedia called X-Ray.
Amazon said in October last year that it had suffered a writedown worth $170 million “primarily related” to the Fire Phone, as reported by GeekWire. Moreover, the company had also sacked “dozens” of engineers associated with the Fire Phone.
Stuart Miles, editor and founder of technology news website Pocket-lint, said discontinuing the phone was not entirely unexpected. “The phone industry is incredibly competitive, and it’s very foolhardy for any company to believe you can come in on your first product and make a difference,” he said. “Amazon obviously believed it could launch something, which unfortunately didn’t gain any excitement. The dynamic perspective camera was pretty much seen as a gimmick which didn’t really add anything to the overall experience.”
As for the existing users of the phone, Amazon said the company will “of course” continue to support them.
According to a report, Amazon is set to launch a $50 tablet later this year, as reported by Morning News USA.
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