The first-edition Fire Phone suffered from poor sales and according to VentureBeat, Amazon has “gone back to the drawing board” to improve the second version.
Although the company would not comment on the latest rumors, it did say in October that new Fire Phone models would be developed. Executives are presumably hoping that the phone can begin to convince consumers despite a rocky start, much like the now-popular Kindle e-reader which was widely criticized upon its release.
Struggling for sales
“We are going to keep iterating software features to get it better and better,” David Limp, Senior Vice President of Devices, told Fortune. “Each release that we’re doing, we’re leaning. Beyond that, I leave it out there to see what people think.”
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Sales have been poor since the release of the 4.7-inch smartphone this summer. An $83 million surplus in unsold handsets fed into an overall loss of $170 million in the last quarter, with smartphone users sticking with their market-leading rivals. Although the Fire Phone featured a parallax display and “Firefly” identification software, sales remained very low.
The display has a resolution of 1,280-by-720, and other hardware includes a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Adreno 330 GPU, and 2GB of RAM. PCMag reviewed the phone and gave it a 3.5-out-of-5 rating.
Amazon Fire Phone too pricey
Limp has since linked poor sales with a high-price tag. For example, customers were asked to shell out $199 for the AT&T exclusive 32GB model, and $299 for a 64GB, both on a long-term contract. Struggling sales soon saw the price dropped to 99 cents.
On release day, a 32GB non-contract handset would have cost you $649, before the price was later reduced to $449, with no positive impact on sales figures. As a result the price was further reduced last month, to $199 for an unlocked handset, although the phone is currently listed at $449 once again.
Those of you who did buy one can expect an update which will include new features such as improved translation software, and an interesting tool which claims to be able to identify more than 2,000 well-known paintings. It’s difficult to see Amazon stealing customers away from Apple and Samsung with these kind of improvements, and we will presumably see a complete overhaul of the Fire Phone by the time the second-generation is released in 2016.