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Amazon Stops Selling Fire Phone 80

An anonymous reader writes: Last June Amazon announced their Fire Phone, an Android device packed with interesting but questionably useful tech that left reviewers unimpressed. Now, just a few weeks after big layoffs in Amazon's Fire Phone division, the phone has gone out of stock globally and seems unlikely to return. GeekWire says it's "an indication that they've finally exhausted their supply and they don't have plans to manufacture anymore."
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Amazon Stops Selling Fire Phone

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  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @12:22AM (#50484433)
    ...if actually they didn't run out of stock, and they're buried in a landfill next to a bunch of Lisas and Newtons...
    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

      ...if actually they didn't run out of stock, and they're buried in a landfill next to a bunch of Lisas and Newtons...

      and IBM PC juniors.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        and IBM PC juniors.

        And Atari E.T. game cartridges!
        Oh, wait. We recovered those.

        In 20 years we will come full circle -- a reality TV show about finding the lost Amazon Phone stock buried in a landfill -- available on Amazon Prime Video.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          Oh no! Andrea hit a refuse pocket from the Golden Corral instead!
        • In 20 years we will come full circle -- a reality TV show about finding the lost Amazon Phone stock buried in a landfill -- available on Amazon Prime Video.

          Seems unlikely. The Atari 2600 was one of the best and longest selling consoles ever created and the video game crash of '83 was a major event.

          The Fire Phone on the other hand... was a crappy phone that could charitably called an "also ran" with a couple gimmicky features. If anything, it would be lumped in as a weird curiosity like the Virtual Boy, but even then, Amazon doesn't have any fans around it like Nintendo or Apple that make it a collectible. Who's waiting in line for the next Kindle Fire? No

          • by orasio ( 188021 )

            Waiting in line is for suckers.
            Us Amazon fans already have Amazon Prime. Some lucky guys even have Prime Now, why stand in line?

            (Disclaimer: not a real Amazon fan, do those exist? But I do own a Fire TV and a Fire Phone, good hardware, great camera, good LTE speeds in my country, the best $200 spent on a phone)

            • Indeed. I have Amazon Prime too and Amazon's great. I ship pretty much everything I can these days. I'm just saying Amazon's devices aren't something people get excited about like some other brands.

              If you take Nintendo or Apple or Atari as an example, there is a fan base around them that enjoys collecting items from 30-40 years ago up to the present. Heck, there are sizable retro movements building new hardware / software for those old systems. I just don't see that happening for Amazon 20 years out, t

        • and IBM PC juniors.

          And PS/1s

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        You know, I thought of the PC Junior moments after hitting submit.

        A teacher in high school had one, with one of the expansion sidecars, probably a parallel port or something. It was kind of nifty in a kid's toy sort of way. Not something that I'd want to use for work but not necessarily a bad way to learn for someone of the Nintendo Entertainment System generation.
        • A teacher in high school had one, with one of the expansion sidecars, probably a parallel port or something. It was kind of nifty in a kid's toy sort of way. Not something that I'd want to use for work but not necessarily a bad way to learn for someone of the Nintendo Entertainment System generation.

          IBM got a bunch of schools to buy them by pricing them just slightly cheaper than a real PC. If you replace the agonizing keyboard they're just a PC. They were fine for learning LOGO.

        • It was actually a really powerful computer in terms of graphics and sound, unfortunately IBM decided to cripple it with no memory and lack of DMA. Tandy fixed most of the flaws and made the PCjr into a decent PC and gave the world Tandy Graphics Mode. If you look up the JrIDE, you'll find that someone made a sidecar that allows for 640K, DMA, clock chip, and the ability to use a hard drive. It's some seriously nice hardware.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nah, they were handed out to staff, instead of a dismissal letter they got a Fire Phone.

    • Lol you are really joking brother if it is out of stock.
    • Maybe they paid off the departing employees with stock, until they ran out.

  • A firesale? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @12:23AM (#50484437)

    Of the firephone

  • ATT only really killed it

  • Sucks too. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The phones would have been dead easy to salvage. The Hardware inside them was great for the price.

    All they would need to do would be to update them and actually reflash a stock android OS on them and then have apps that gave them access to the Amazon feature while still giving people all the features of any other android phone, including google play. It would have sold great.

    But no one wants to be locked into just amazon (barring those of us who know how to side load), especially if they are trying to upgra

    • Re:Sucks too. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @12:44AM (#50484505)
      Maybe I'm lazy, but even though I'm sure I could root a phone or side-load applications, it's a goddamn phone, I don't want to have to do that to just use it. There is a point where I'm no longer interested in digging under the hood, and that limit seems to be the cell phone for me. Computers, network routers, wireless access points, all stuff to play with, but I just want my phone to be reliable and to do the things that it's touted as being capable of. I don't want to have to modify it to remove the crippleware just to reach intended functionality.
      • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
        You accidentally replaced the word desired with the word intended. You have to root and sideload the fire phone to gain desired functionality. Amazon fully intended to lock people into their marketplace.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Your solution is simple. Buy an unsubsidised phone in future. Pay the true cost of the device. People like you need to realise the new fancy phone you get on the new contract isn't just paid for over time, the cost has been reduced by the amount of shit pre-installed, as those corporations have paid to be there. But be honest, you want someone else to pay for your device because you're too poor to spunk full price trying to keep up with your richer peers.

      • by orasio ( 188021 )

        You are right. You shouldn't do that.
        In my case, I got the Fire Phone, I didn't give it much thought, because I wanted a phone with LTE, a good camera, and cheap.
        I got it for $200 on black friday. I could have got the Moto G, but this one has a better camera.

        A week after, I found out Hangouts was not available, and wanted it, so I downloaded the google play and play services APK, and installed them in the phone. I had to change a config setting to enable installs from outside of the store, just like in stoc

        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

          I could have got the Moto G, but this one has a better camera.

          Moto G 2nd has what is actually a hilariously great camera. I keep getting compliments on my photo quality.

          • by orasio ( 188021 )

            I got one for my wife, she's happy with it, and really likes her phone, after the upgrade to Lollipop.
            I just liked the one on the Fire better.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      "The Hardware inside them was great for the price."

      "But no one wants to be locked into just amazon"

      But therein lies the problem, to be great hardware for a great price it was dependent on being subsidised by the fact it was mostly just a device to generate more sales through Amazon's retail division.

      To get what you want, a version with vanilla Android and no lock in, the price would have to increase, and at that point, you might as well just by a Nexus, or an iPhone and skip the Amazon middle man.

  • Oh Hey! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    I remember that phone! That was supposed to be the Jesus phone! According to the hype, it was supposed to give you a spontaneous orgasm when you opened the packaging! And it would free us all forever and ever from the evil Google hegemony! Somehow I never got around to ordering one and lost track of it after it was released. So... how's that working out for them? ... Oh... wow that went down in flames quickly, didn't it? Let me guess, didn't deliver on the orgasm thing?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Orgasm delivered, but it was anal and required a quick trip to the toilet after opening the box.
  • I like it (Score:5, Informative)

    by Antibozo ( 410516 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @12:42AM (#50484495) Homepage

    Too bad. I have one and i rather like it. It has limitations but for the price it is a nice device. Pros: very good battery life, peppy, nice display, some hardware buttons, can sideload apps, comes with a year of Prime (or extension), integrates well with Fire TV Stick. Cons: Amazon app store is missing many useful apps and lags versions, limited Google integration, could really use a back button (the back gesture ends up doing something else about 25% of the time).

    Mind you, i got it for only $159 unlocked, and that includes a year of Prime, so effectively $60 for an unlocked smartphone with a decent processor and display is pretty sweet. For $60, it's a fantastic device, really.

    • One of the first things I did was to learn how to put the google ecosystem on it along with the play store. Then it became as useful as most other androids.
      A quick search should give you one of several pages with instructions.

  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @12:46AM (#50484515)

    It has some interesting concepts and it isn't a "me too" iPhone & Android. Amazon was stupid as to think the average consumer would pay the same for the fire phone with a non-existent ecosphere as he would for a new iPhone with a rich and featured ecosphere. If they had just taken half the current write-off and put that upfront to sell these phones heavily discounted to get a foothold in the market, I have no doubt they would have sold well.

    What does giving away a free year of Prime does? It pretty much traps the person into keeping Prime and buying a ton of stuff from Amazon.

    I'm enjoying my fire phone. Would I have purchased one at $600 or $200 + 2 years of service? Hell no. However, when I saw it at $130, and it's been as low as $110, plus a year of Prime I purchased it instantly.

    • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @04:02AM (#50484931)

      one review on amazon about the fire phone:

      Where to begin. The battery life is garbage even on the lowest dim. When charging the apps are fumbly at best. Home key sticks a lot. When the phone gets hot it will randomly send your pics and crazy text to random people. You can get the apps by back loading Google play but it's tedious. I would only recommend this phone to my ex wife in hopes that it would prevent her from ever calling me again.

      ok, I did lol at this one.

      sounds like a disaster. glad I never even considered one.

    • by daq man ( 170241 )

      Was it in a fire sale?

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @01:06AM (#50484581) Journal

    After reading the New York Times article on how Amazon treats it's staff [] I have made a point to avoid buying anything from Amazon at all. If I could only get it from Amazon, then I no longer need it.

    I think it is intrinsic to discourage the kind of workplace that Amazon is creating because it just shows that things really can be a lot worse than they are.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > I think it is intrinsic to discourage the kind of workplace...

      Places other than Amazon sell dictionaries. You should consider acquiring one.

    • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @02:22AM (#50484739)
      This article is pure nonsense (and yes, I work at Amazon). We're not crying at our desks - we have special rooms for that, for FSM's sake!

      That being said, I think I've seen only one person with a FirePhone at _Amazon_. That's how popular they are...
      • Re:Ama Amhole (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @03:41AM (#50484891)

        I was in the process of a multi-month (sigh) email dialog with an amazon (labs) recruiter; before the big article, things were coming along and there was interest from him (and his group) in me. after the layoff/reorg/article, a few weeks went by and nothing.

        then, an email saying that they are 'regrouping' and would I like to apply for an android oriented job instead of the hw/fw job that I was more interested in. I gave him a good earfull about how amazon has no business (literally and figuratively) being in the android space, no one buys it, its a failure and fwiw, I have no background or interest in the race-to-the-bottom known as 'apps development' or even the o/s itself. hardware, sure, I'd be into it, but the android stuff at amazon is just a non-starter and everyone knows it.

        of course, once I leveled with him, I don't expect to ever hear back from him again. in fact, he may even be RIF'd for all I know.

        but I do know that amazon has to exit the android biz and spend its money elsewhere. they have a lot of power in the brand name (amazon) but android is just not the place for them, imho.

        (I was actually pushing some new hardware ideas on a totally non-phone CES concept; and initially the recruiter was excited about it; but now I'm not hearing from him at all. I guess amazon really has fundamental problems that are more than just skin deep...)

        • but I do know that amazon has to exit the android biz and spend its money elsewhere. they have a lot of power in the brand name (amazon) but android is just not the place for them, imho.

          I think their business units must be set up to be at War with each other. Competition has its place but so does cooperation.

          For instance, I don't even use the Android shopping app anymore because I have Smile setup to support a local nonprofit, so I have to use mobile web. The only reason for Smile to not work on mobile is

          • Amazon could have given people the phone they wanted (choice of stores, "root-ish" capabilities, security, etc.) and they have the money to do it and with deep shopping integration people would have been both happy and greatly increased their revenue, but instead they let the marketing people try to lock them into

            There is literally no point to Amazon making their own phone except for lock-in. If they can't achieve that (hint: they can't) then they shouldn't make a phone at all. They can never be as good at it as the real phone makers.

  • Ubuntu (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TR NS ( 4242885 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @02:02AM (#50484697)
    I half expect Amazon to acquire Canonical and run Unbuntu.
  • If Amazon wanted to establish some bona fides as a phone maker, they could consider creating a pure-Android ROM that takes advantage of the flick gestures and perspective tracking cameras. Not like they have much to lose at this point.
  • I thought they stopped selling it last July, now would just be a case of stop advertising it.

  • I admit it. I killed this phone. I'm the commercial kiss-of-death and when I bought one back in January the Fire Phone's fate was sealed.

    I just needed a cheap unlocked multi-band GSM phone that I could activate while traveling in Europe. Once I turned off the battery-eating perspective-tracking feature and side-loaded the Google Play store so I could get Google Maps and a few other necessities it wasn't a bad phone -- a little on the chunky side, but a nice enough screen and decent build quality. I'm su

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Everybody there - really, everybody - knew it was an inevitable train wreck. The environment was one which could not hope to produce success. Articles describing work at Amazon only begin to illustrate what a dystopian shithole that place is. For your children's sake, just boycott these cunts. I know, I know - they're convenient. But it's not worth it.

  • Hardly surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @06:14AM (#50485215)
    The Fire Phone had a pretty silly gimmick that needed four(!) additional cameras on the front face to track eyes in order to give the UI a pseudo 3D effect. So the device had 6 cameras in total. 5 on the face and one on the other side. If that doesn't ring alarm bells about a project that's gone off the rails then I don't know what does.

    Aside from that it had a mediocre phone stack, ran a proprietary fork of Android (that wasn't compatible with the ecosystem) and it was tied to Amazon services.

    Basically it was just a bad phone.

  • by sirwired ( 27582 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @07:55AM (#50485479)

    The Fire phone was almost certainly a process of a bunch of executives and engineers sitting in a room and trying to one-up each other for "revolutionary" features. And not once did they apparently take a break to ask some actual consumers if they'd actually find these features useful.

    At the time it was released, all it was was some pretty UI enhancements and a bunch of features that did nothing more than make it easier to buy things from Amazon. If they had sold it for a bargain price, I think that, like the Fire tablet, it would have established a decent foothold. But at the price of a "flagship" phone from Apple or Samsung? How on earth was that ever going to work? I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how they figured their silly additional feature set would make it worth being locked into the Amazon ecosystem. (After all, they don't price the Fire tablet like an iPad, so why did they price the Fire phone like an iPhone?)

    (None of this really concerns the Kindle Reader, for which tight integration into a store for filling it with books is a really useful feature.)

  • I bought one of these figuring that it was a cheap unlocked phone with another year of Prime built in. Amazon's biggest failure was building an Android phone without leveraging any of the strengths of Android.

    That was just stupid.

    If they simply built the phone around stock Android and then added in their "ecosystem" it would have been a worthwhile device.

  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Wednesday September 09, 2015 @10:52AM (#50486609)

    This isn't a full review, but I wanted to mention a few things about the much misaligned "3D useless gimmick."

    It isn't a gimmick and it's pretty useful.

    Ok first, the "home screen" with 3D icons. Ok, that's a gimmick. But the face tracking goes past that.

    There are cool little uses like the status bar not showing unless the user slightly turns the phone. Another is showing extra info that would look cluttered normally. Mainly text labels and such. So you can work with a clean interface but if you need to see the labels, simply slightly turn the phone horizontally and the text shows. It's a neat concept.

    There are other HUGE interface concepts like their home screen. It's called the carousel and it's a live "recently used" list that scrolls horizontally. The cool thin is it shows the most recent used or live items under each icon. So you can swipe though the carousel and see recent photos, email, messages, even the menu selections you used on the "Settings" app. It's a smart idea and it much faster than widgets.

    Another cool thing is the three screens concept. Each app has three screens; the main center one, the once on the right that show often used items for the app, and the one on the left that shows a menu. A quick flick brings down a "system's quick menu" for things lie airplane mode, flashlight, and such.

    It's has a nice camera and firefly.

    And to be honest, the 3D lock screens are cool to look at and it's a nice difference to have.

    The Fire is in no way worth what Amazon wanted when it was released. But for the $130 I paid, including a years extension of Prime, it's a steal of a deal.

    It's a good phone.

  • 1. It had a expandable memory slot.

    2. Had not tried to lock it into an Amazon ecosystem.

  • Purchased the fire phone for myself and my two kids. They instantly had access to the family collection of Amazon Music, including CD's that we had purchased decades ago that Amazon had transcoded to mp3 for free. They could tell me what they wanted me to get them by adding items on Amazon to their own dedicated wish lists. They had access to email, a generally good phone with decent display, networking functionality battery life, and camera. The only thing wrong with the phone was that it didn't connec

  • There. Fixed that. In that they likely weren't really selling...
  • I planned to buy the Fire phone as my next phone. My Samsung Galaxy S4 is still good so maybe I am a year away from buying. My family has three kindles and Amazon prime and we subscribe to the kids free time. There really isn't another solution for young kids that comes even close.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie