Amazon announced the Fire Phone yesterday. Amazon isn’t a hardware company, and it shows.
When the iPad was first announced, it was largely dismissed as “just a big iPhone” by naysayers. In this case, detractors would be fairly safe calling the Fire Phone “just a small Kindle.”
Bezos’ demonstration of the device covered how to use it to find and buy things on Amazon. In that sense, it’s just what the Kindle does, plus a phone app (which wasn’t demonstrated). How do you actually use it as a phone? Who cares!
The Fire Phone was built around a feature checklist where it would be the only one checked in each row. I can’t imagine how many “Mayday” calls Amazon CSRs will get asking how to turn off the tilt scrolling. And 6 cameras dedicated to a feature that’s nothing more than “neat,” compromising device size and battery life in the process? Jeesh.
The biggest flub was subtle: the ‘cloud’ and ‘device’ tabs in the list of apps. If this device is targeted to Kindle users (grandma), why should she care whether the app is in the cloud or on the device? Shouldn’t it just work?
Apple and Google have already made their intentions clear: it doesn’t matter where the content lives, just as long as you can access it. Amazon has instead adapted the Kindle experience for a smaller device and added a phone app.
Who, exactly, was asking for that?