Last week, Amazon shared its most recent financial data with investors, reporting a sizable quarterly loss that was in no way helped out by disappointing Fire Phone sales. In fact, unsold Fire Phone inventory was practically piling up in the company’s warehouses, a situation that cost Amazon to the tune of $170 million. Now Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Devices David Limp is speaking up about what went wrong with the Fire Phone, and he’s come to the same realization it seems like we’ve been shouting all along: the Fire Phone was priced way too high.
As Limp describes it, “I think people come to expect a great value, and we sort of mismatched expectations. We thought we had it right. But we’re also willing to say, ‘we missed.’ And so we corrected.”
He goes on to talk about Amazon’s response, lowering the phone’s on-contract price to essentially free, and its commitment to trying to salvage what it can of the Fire Phone through updates aimed at improving the software experience. Limp insists that Amazon’s committed to the phone, and that it’s not about to abandon the project now just because it’s off to a rough start.
It’s reassuring to a degree that Amazon seems willing to admit the Fire Phone’s failings like this – and that the company’s support will continue in spite of them – but we’re not quite convinced that such self-reflection is enough to turn the phone around.
You can’t go lower than free-on-contract, and while that helped Fire Phone sales, it didn’t send them into the stratosphere (and Amazon seems hesitant to move its off-contract pricing any lower). And all the software updates in the world won’t change how the phone can’t deliver the typical Android experience many smartphone users are expecting, thanks to Fire OS under the hood. But kudos to Amazon for sticking with its guns, and if there is any way to save the Fire Phone, we’d love to see it pull that off.