Amazon head Jeff Bezos is reported to have told observers to “stay tuned” with regard to its plans for the struggling Fire smartphone line, although he stopped short of admitting the device had been a failure.
In October, Amazon recorded a charge of $170 million related to the Fire phone, against a backdrop of reports of weak sales. The company’s devices head, David Limp, subsequently admitted that there had been a pricing “mismatch”, with the premium price tag attached at launch subsequently cut.
According to reports of Bezos’ appearance at the Business Insider Ignition conference, the executive said that it will take “many iterations” before the device can be judged. This fits with Limp’s promise that new software features will be added “to get it better and better”.
Re/Code said that Bezos had also pointed to other Amazon products and services which had taken some time to become successful, such as its early auctions and Zshops listing business, which evolved into the third-party marketplace which now comprises 40 per cent of Amazon’s overall revenue.
While some of Fire’s unique features, such as the 3D ‘dynamic perspective’ capabilities, have been praised, it has been noted that this is only supported by a limited number of applications. And by supporting Amazon’s own app store over Google Play, some key titles are not easily available for Fire.
Amazon has also launched Fire with limited operator support, working with AT&T in the US, O2 in the UK, and T-Mobile in Germany. This also limits its potential, both internationally and in the markets where it is available.