Amazon’s Fire Phone Won’t Set the Smartphone Market Ablaze

Amazon announced its Fire Phone hoping to replicate the success it had in tablets. Amazon proved to be a formidable competitor in the US tablet market with a 25% share in 2013, surpassing established global brands Samsung (15%).

The phone boasts innovative camera capabilities, a dynamic perspective interface (3D viewing via positive parallax), and critically a deep integration of Amazon’s online products and services. In its quest to stand out from its competitors, Amazon forgot the most important success factor that made the online giant’s products popular in the US: competitive pricing. The Fire Phone pricings as indicated at the launch event is on par with flagship models from Samsung and Apple.

Consumers use tablets for media consumption which explains the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, but smartphones are still primarily communication devices with media-consumption functionality. Not a lot of consumers will want to pay premium prices for a highly customised smartphone that locks them into a restrictive and limited ecosystem (as compared to Android’s market place and iOS’s app store) without significant savings.