Have We Seen The Last Of Amazon's Fire Phone?

Chris CrumIT Management

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I'm sure I don't have to tell you what a colossal failure Amazon's Fire Phone was. Despite negative reviews and an overwhelming lack of consumer interest in the device, it had seemed as though Amazon would work to improve on the device with future models, but now it's not looking so likely.

After years of anticipation, Amazon finally unveiled its version of the modern smartphone last year. They had a big Apple-esque launch event and showed off some interesting features that other phones didn't have. Unfortunately, they weren't features that anybody particularly wanted and the device simply fell short compared to offerings from more established smartphone-makers.

The reviews began to pour in, and the device was almost universally panned, though some of the more positive reviews were optimistic that Amazon could perhaps make major improvements through updates and future models.

But the lack of interest really became clear when Amazon dropped the price of the device to 99 cents, and still nobody bought it.

Last fall, an Amazon exec acknowledged the phone's failure, but indicated future models would be on the way.

Now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon has laid off dozens of engineers from the unit that developed the phone, and that future phone development has been shelved. It says:

At one point, the company planned a stripped-down Fire phone, but Amazon has stretched out its timeline for smartphone development indefinitely, people familiar with the matter said.
Amazon has also halted or scaled back other development projects, according to people familiar with the situation, including a smart stylus internally called Nitro, which translates a users’ scribblings into digital shopping lists; a device dubbed Shimmer for projecting images on walls and other surfaces; and a tablet code-named Project Cairo, with a 14-inch screen.

The Journal has more on where Amazon is focusing its hardware efforts, which include home devices and tablets.

None of this necessarily means that we'll never see Amazon take another shot at a smartphone again, but from the sound of it, it it's not something we'll be seeing in the foreseeable future.

Image via Amazon (YouTube)

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.