The Amazon Fire Phone has had an odd history. While Amazon’s Kindle eReaders, Fire tablets, and Fire TV devices have been pretty well-received, the Fire Phone was seen by many as overpriced and gimmicky when it launched in 2014.
These days you can pick one up for as little as $130, while Amazon apparently attempts to clear out remaining inventory… and that price includes a free 1-year subscription to Amazon Prime, which normally costs $99.
So what’s next for the team that develops Amazon’s hardware? According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon still hopes to launch another smartphone… but it might take a few years. In the meantime, the company has reportedly laid off dozens of engineers that worked on the first Fire Phone.
The Fire Phone came out of Amazon’s Lab126 hardware-development division, and according to the Wall Street Journal, this is the first time Lab126 has seen layoffs. That (plus the huge price cuts) could be a pretty good sign of just how big a flop the Fire Phone has been.
But the WSJ reports that other Lab126 hardware projects are still under development, including a computer for the kitchen that can accept voice commands, a new battery that could let a Kindle eReader run for up to 2 years between charges, and a new Fire tablet with support for glasses-free 3D (but using different 3D technology than the Fire Phone).
Projects that have reportedly been killed or scaled back include one to create a tablet with a 14 inch display, another for a stylus that could translate written notes into digital text (for shopping lists), and a projector.
Looking for a good reason to pick up the Fire Phone now that it just costs $31 more than an Amazon Prime membership? At that price you could always use it as a media player or spare phone… and if you’re not happy with the Amazon Fire OS software, you could try installing CyanogenMod.
via The Verge