Amazons Fire Phone Anouncement Review
Amazon announced their upcoming smartphone earlier this week to accompany their other Fire-themed devices. The smartphone is called the Amazon Fire Phone and is currently only being offered through AT&T — a strange move, considering the smartphone market today. Nonetheless, the device is being positioned as a competitor to the iPhone and Galaxy S5.
The Fire Phone is being sold outright for $649 and $199 with a 2-year contract with AT&T. I am at a loss with how they’re targeting this product, considering you can purchase a Galaxy 5 for $99 with the contract and around that price retail. For a new product with less specs than their competitors, plus being only available on AT&T, they’re target demographic is going to be very limited.
John Legere put out a poignant Tweet shortly after the announcement, comparing the phone to the failed Facebook phone, which was positioned similarly at launch as an AT&T only device:
“Let’s hope @amazon doesn’t fall victim to the @att curse that is the facebook phone.#onemonth” — John Legere, CEO T-Mobile, June 17, 2014
The Fire Phone has some interesting features, but is lacking in specs for a smartphone at its price point. The screen resolution is only 1280 x 720 @ 4.7″, where most of the top tier devices are 1920 x 1080 and larger than 4.8″. With it being a new product in a saturated market, they’re not offering too much incentive to own the Fire over the current top-tier smartphones. Mind you, I’m a fan of Amazon’s products and services, but why would I buy this over the Galaxy S5 or the upcoming G3? I figured Amazon was going to use it’s resources to sell a more cost-effective device that could undercut the smartphone market, much like they did with their tablets. As an example, Google sells their Nexus 5 factory unlocked for $349 ($399 for the 32GB model) and it’s compatible with 3 of the 4 major carriers in the US. It’s not the highest spec phone on the market, but it offers several advantages over the top tier Android devices. The Nexus 5 gets updates as soon as they’re made, has no bloatware, is a pure Android experience, and is priced low enough that you can stay on inexpensive no-contract plans. That’s where I expected this product to be positioned – this is a growing market, which is where Amazon’s products have always been injected. Instead, they have an expensive smartphone offered only on one carrier, with access to 1/5 of Android apps, that has some nifty sensors and Amazon Instant video.
Oh, I almost forgot the app that lets you scan products and finds them on Amazon for you. Yeah…
If you want to give the Fire Phone a shot, they’re offering pre-orders for either $699 retail or on a 2-year contract through AT&T.
I’m curious to see what the sales numbers look like for the phone. What are your opinions on Amazon’s smartphone?