Amazon's first and only smartphone to date, was a dud



For years there had been rumors that Amazon was going to release an ambitious smartphone. That dream finally reached fruition on June 18th, 2014 when the Amazon Fire Phone was introduced to high hopes. With a 4.7-inch LCD screen carrying a 720 x 1280 HD display, the device featured the Snapdragon 800 SoC carrying a quad-core 2.2GHz CPU and the Adreno 330 GPU. 2GB of RAM was inside with 32GB/64GB of native storage. A 2400mAh battery provided the power. The 13MP rear-facing camera provided an aperture of f/2.0, and the front-facing selfie snapper weighed in at 2.1MP.

The Amazon Fire Phone did come with four front-facing cameras and infrared LEDs to shoot pictures in 3D. There were four sensors because Amazon figured that uses would cover two of them with their fingers. Amazon also counted on a huge response for its Firefly feature. A long press of the side-mounted camera button would open Firefly. At that point, items like books, QR codes, UPC codes, web addresses, phone numbers, music and more would be scanned by the application, and identified. For example, scan a book and the title and author's name would appear on the display. The information from Firefly also showed how much the book cost if purchased from Amazon.

Other nifty features on the phone included dual stereo speakers,  the Mayday 24/7 live video chat with customer service, and Auto Scroll which alowed text on the screen to scroll up by tilting the phone. Buyers of the phone received one free year of Android Prime which included access to millions of  movies, TV shows and songs that could be streamed.

But Amazon, like it did with its tablets, decided to use a forked version of Android. That meant no Google Play Store. Instead, the Amazon Appstore offered a limited number of apps, and that was one of the reasons why the Amazon Fire Phone was practically DOA. An AT&T exclusive, the Fire Phone was priced at $199.99 with a two-year pact for the 32GB model. The 64GB variant was priced at $299.99 on contract. A few months later, the 32GB Fire Phone was priced at $199.99 with NO contract required. The device hardly sold, and despite Amazon's talk of producing a sequel regardless of the Fire Phone's weak sales numbers, so far a second-gen model has never appeared.

We gave the phone a score of 6 out of 10 with our review. You can read what we thought of the Amazon Fire Phone by clicking on this link


Related phones

Fire Phone
  • Display 4.7" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 2400 mAh(22h talk time)

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25 Comments

1. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I clicked on this article in hopes that you were going to say Amazon was thinking about making a second fire phone, of course you didn't and this article is therefore useless because it's only clickbate.

3. Alan01

Posts: 602; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

If you haven't noticed, I've been writing about past smartphone models for some time. Chances are, if Amazon announced a second phone, it would be mentioned in the headline. Regards, Alan F.

4. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Yeah but this one sucks. No offense I usually like your articles. Sincerely. Arch F.

11. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

@Arch_Fiend Let me get this straight. Due to your inability to read titles correctly, you are now directly insulting the author's article because it doesn't interest you? You're retarded. Alan01...keep doin your thing. The article is fine. Sincerely, LJF

10. BaffledTruffle

Posts: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

It's not clickbait if you're the one who held up hopes when the title didn't even mention a second phone, nor a hint of that. It literally says that Amazon's first smartphone is a flop.

12. Mxyzptlk unregistered

How is the article useless? Just because it wasn't what you expected it to be doesn't make it useless. For the record, the author never said anything about Amazon making a second phone. Maybe you should pay close attention to detail next time.

17. krystian

Posts: 423; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

It was informative for me since I never really kept up with amazon phone so I learned everything about it in a single article.

24. logicsdude

Posts: 83; Member since: Jun 25, 2014

It doesn't have to involve anything new, but it would be nice to have details on why it flopped in the article other than just not having pure android. This article spends most of its text giving the details on the phone and doesn't discuss it's failure at all, meaning it's neither news nor a story, it's simply an expanded statement of a fact. I almost feel like Alan had a deadline to meet and nothing to write about so he just stated a fact and expanded it without elaborating on it or the reasons for it.

2. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Yup. Just like the HTC First. AT&T doesn't mind taking risky L's.

13. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Don't forget the BlackBerry Passport and the Priv.

15. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

Speaking of devices that flopped, we can add the "Apple Pippin" gaming console, by Apple to the list. That thing flopped so hard I bet that most here don't even know what it is to begin with.

20. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

Kind of like Apples 20th anniversary Mac, that they thought would sell at a price of $8,000. Newsflash: It flopped. Hard, lol.

23. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Kind of like the Storm that tried to be an iPhone killer but ended up killing the company, which is still dead btw.

25. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

You know, you should be eternally grateful that Microsoft saved your god Apple from oblivion when they rescued them from bankruptcy.

26. Mxyzptlk unregistered

You just make yourself look like a huge hypocrite considering you just attacked because I said something about your precious blackberry.

27. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

Just like you just made yourself look like an even bigger hypocrite because you've attacked me over saying something small about your god Apple.

5. Tabby_Tiger

Posts: 305; Member since: Jan 23, 2017

You can side load android apps onto Kindle Fire. I take it you could do the same with this device?

16. meanestgenius

Posts: 21778; Member since: May 28, 2014

Yeah, you actually could. You could even load it up with Google Mobile Services and the Google Play Store.

6. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Ah! Fire Phone, eh? No wonder it turned out to be a flop... No PlayStore or any of the Google Services. You're stuck with Amazon Apps Store... This phone is like an ADVERTISEMENT sponsored by AMAZON...! Fire Phone is (or was) 'solely' made for Amazon Loyalists... Actually 'freaks' to be precise, as even people who work for Amazon didn't get one... So... You'll know when you need a Fire Phone, trust me! Oh well, G'Day!

7. cornerofthemoon

Posts: 620; Member since: Apr 20, 2010

I bought the Amazon phone when they were uber cheap during their Fire sale (pun intended). I actually really liked the phone....Great build quality and the 3D screens were fun....However lack of apps were a problem.

19. Be_Mine

Posts: 242; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

Hi.. Out of curiosity. When you say lack of apps. Are the popular apps in Play Store like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, Chrome browser, Google map, etc,,. at least included?

21. cornerofthemoon

Posts: 620; Member since: Apr 20, 2010

The Amazon Phone didn't support Google Play, only the Amazon App store. YouTube, Gmail, etc. were not available and the emulators were subpar. You could side load the Google Play store but that was a pain in the butt and sometimes the Amazon and Google updates would conflict with each other and screw up the apps.

14. killer7D

Posts: 550; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

That was a big failure by Amazon..

22. jontpt

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 05, 2017

The Fire Phone is actually a very good device when you dump FireOS and switch to CM11 I use it it as a daily driver and have had no issues. Only drawback is that, due to the locked bootloader, further OS updates are unlikely.

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