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.

fire phone_01

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.

Update: Amazon now says the Fire Phone is out of stock, but you can still pick one up for cheap on eBay. QualityCellz is selling a 32GB model for $140 and a 64GB version for $160.

via The Verge

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7 replies on “WSJ: Amazon lays off engineers that worked on the Fire Phone”

  1. $130 laid off engineers thats cheap with all that intellectual property that comes for free, its a steal. haha

  2. Typical – The greedy Marketing Goons screw it up, and the Engineers get fired for it. Screw you Amazon.

  3. I’d hate to have “designed Amazon Fire Phone” on my resume, particularly since the failure wasn’t their fault. I don’t see any (sorta) Android phone being popular without access to the Play Store.

  4. ending that “free app of the day”-offer, laying off engineers, …
    one could think amazon had realized that fire/amazon app store was a failure and would be starting damage controll.

    1. The interesting thing about Amazon is that AWS is a fast growing, profitable business. Almost everything else (like the retail that people know it for) is marginally profitable or a money loser at best. Its probably a good thing that Amazon is not diving into the smartphone wars … with products like the 2015 Moto G and Xiaomi and the Zenphone 2 … its becoming incredibly cutthroat.

  5. That’s too bad. All the stories I hear about how the FirePhone was made makes it sound like it was a bad and frustrating experience for the people who made it.

    I have a FirePhone and I don’t think it is a bad device if you have Amazon services, but I don’t think I’d ever use it as my main phone. I do think it was much too expensive and the “3D” is a very useless gimmick as far as I can tell. If it were $199 or $250 unlocked from the start and did not have the “3D” gimmick it might have been a better device.

    1. Yeah. I picked up a Fire phone a few weeks ago for a great deal. From what I’ve seen, it’s generally considered to be a good phone, but its price was too high for what it was when it launched, as you pointed out. Being AT&T exclusive probably hurt too. And not having easy access to the Play store would be a problem for many, though I’m fine with it. It’s not a bad phone at all for the price it’s going for, especially factoring in the year of Prime. I think Amazon would have done much better if they hadn’t set the price at the “premium” level.

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