Amazon never really set out to be a company that designed and sold its own mobile hardware, but a heck of a lot has changed since its early days as an online bookstore. From the initial success of the Kindle e-reader, Amazon’s expanded its hardware offerings ranging from the affordable Fire tablets, to its Fire TV set-top box, to the unusual Echo. And while Amazon’s had a few hits in there, it’s also seen its share of misses, maybe most notably with last year’s Fire Phone. It’s failures like that one that may be responsible for some big changes happening at Amazon’s Lab126 hardware division, as reports arrive of some unprecedented layoffs.
Official numbers aren’t available, but sources claim that Amazon’s let go dozens of Lab126 engineers over the past several weeks. While a few firings now and then might sound like business as usual for a company as large as Amazon, this is reportedly the first time Lab126 has been the target of such measures.
Beyond the staff reduction, sources suggest that Amazon is scaling back its hardware ambitions, canceling, modifying, or indefinitely delaying many existing projects. Some, like a new large-screen tablet, may no longer be happening, though others, like a kitchen-based hub for the connected home, are supposedly still on track.
These changes may mean we end up seeing less new Amazon hardware emerge over the next few years, or at least a focus on different priorities; don’t hold your breath for a Fire Phone 2.
Source: The Wall Street Journal