Yesterday, Amazon.com introduced its Fire Phone, the first smartphone from the e-tailing giant. Whether the new unit is about "new breakthrough technologies" (per Jeff Bezos) or is pretty much an average premium smartphone with a price to go with it (per multiple reports), there is one thing that is clear. The device is all about connecting users with Amazon.com and, if successful, that means sales well beyond just the purchase price.
"Fire Phone puts everything you love about Amazon in the palm of your hand — instant access to Amazon's vast content ecosystem and exclusive features like the Mayday button, ASAP, Second Screen, X-Ray, free unlimited photo storage, and more," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, in a statement.
The Fire Phone will go on sale on July 25 and will cost $199 for the 32-gigabyte version if taking on a two-year contract with AT&T, the exclusive wireless network provider for the device. Without a contract, the Fire Phone sells for $650. Amazon is throwing in a free year of its Prime shipping and content service with each purchase of the device. Current Prime members will have a year added to their subscription.
Reviewers, even those who were mostly favorable on the device, do not see it as a serious threat to the market share held by either Apple's iPhone or Samsung's Galaxy line. The Fire Phone's un-Amazon-like price along with the AT&T exclusive are both seen as obstacles to purchase.
Posts from Amazon's Facebook page were particularly negative on the AT&T deal:
A poll on the Engadget site found that 17 percent planned to "absolutely" purchase the Fire Phone with 52 percent responding "no way" and 32 percent saying "maybe."
How likely is Amazon.com to achieve success with its Fire Phone?