Fire Flop: Amazon's smartphone may have only sold ~35,000 units

When Amazon pulled back the curtain on its new smartphone, the industry reacted with muted excitement. The Fire phone, which offered up some fancy features like eye-tracking and 3D imagery, was relatively mundane.

Sure, the features sound great, but in practice they offer little use, and all the reviews of the device basically said the same thing; it’s a decent phone but all of the fancy extras are kind of pointless. Even the Fire Fly app, which got its own dedicated button, is kind of neat seeing that it can read text from images and pull down content from Amazon to allow for quick purchases, but it is an app and there is nothing stopping Amazon from porting it to other platforms.

So how well is the Fire Phone selling? Abysmal, if you can trust some back of the napkin math. We say that because Amazon does not release the sales figures of individual devices, which means that we will likely never know how well (or poor) the phone is performing in the market.

But the folks over at the Guardian, they have used two different market signals to work backwards to determine the sales figures; those sources being Chitika and ComScore. By using how often a Fire Phone showed up on an ad-network (Chitika) and how large the US smartphone base is (ComScore), you can determine a rough approximation of the number of phones sold, and that figure is roughly 35,000 in the first 20 days after the device was available. You can check the source for all of the math behind the calculation, and it does take into account the inconsistencies in the statistics used for the for reaching the numbers.

The figures, if accurate based on the publically available information, will be a huge disaster for Amazon who likely spent tens of millions of dollars (if not more) will have seen that go to waste. 

Amazon isn’t commenting on sales figures at this time, but you can bet that if they were anything to brag about, they would have put out a press release by now.

Source: The Guardian

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Doesn't surprise me. The phone is pretty much pointless. The gimmicks are crap and it offers nothing else of any real value over other real Android phones.

Usually "review units" aren't sold, but given or lent to the reviewer for free... so they can't be counted in a "sales" number

But here the review units ARE sales, as the "sales" have been calculated by how often they appear on ad networks and working backwards as actual sales figures haven't and won't be released. So all the review units that are in use will be "sales"...

Not a real surprise if you take into account that even their kindle fire tablets aren't selling that great IIRC, why get a Amazon specific phone? That way of thinking didn't work with the Facebook phone either.

As I said last year about the facebook phone, this idea would have been great about 4 years ago. But Amazon has all of these services already available on iOS, Android, and WP devices. Why would I dump my iPhone and go to this when I already have everything on it?

This is expected. For some reason they sold it at $650 or $200 on contract which is similar to top top tier phones with better specs. Traditionally Amazon has sold devices for near cost saying that they aren't a hardware company and figuring if you buy a device on their ecosystem over time they'll make a profit from you via services such as prime subscriptions. This time they didn't do that and they've paid for it.

Now-a-days it is EXTREMELY hard to break into the cell phone market. Apple's iOS and Android practically own the market. Even with other great devices out (such as BB OS10 and WP 8.*) people are VERY reluctant to give these any sort of fair try. Most people who have (and love) their iPhone would never EVER consider trading it for something else. I wish the best for Amazon and their phone but I think it's very hard to break in with few differences compared to the other major players.

Don't be fooled, Amazon knows what they are doing. Their devices are not built to conquer Apple or Samsung or the "cell phone market"-- they are a means to condition legions of young people to shop Amazon for EVERYTHING. Music, Video, and every day-to-day item they sale on their site.

They sale these Kindle devices at break-even prices, if not at a slight loss. The Kindle devices, as a long-time Apple iPad user, are great for kids IMHO. The 32GB 7" Kindle HDX is killer. It's $229. Apples comparable model, the 32GB iPad mini with Retina costs $499. I just got one for my 10 yr old it is great. The screen looks every bit as good as my Retina iPad3 and it is very fast. I'm not sure how the graphics performance compares to the latest A7 GPU in the iPad Air, but it really doesn't matter because it performs very very well. The build quality is great and the user-experience is great.

What this gets for Amazon is a kid that is learning to go to Amazon to get stuff. This is the long game. These kids will grow up and continue shopping Amazon long after they leave home and their parents stop buying them stuff. Notice how the Amazon phone commercials show kids using the phone, not adults. They are positioning it as a device suitable for younger kids.

Amazon used to know what they were doing. This phone shows that they completely fooled themselves into thinking that their cost conscious customers would pay a premium price, when a low priced device is what they typically buy.

You're right about the phone's price. I don't get why it is so expensive. I would expect a huge price drop soon. That is the only thing that makes no sense.

If they could deliver on the unlimited data for Amazon streaming services on more networks, and advertise it properly, they would have a winner.

They advertised like crazy in our market. They weren't bad ads either, but it just goes to show how hard it is to get a new phone to sell if it isn't an iPhone or Galagsy.

Type comment here...

Let's put out a midrange phone, that is limited in the services it can connect to, charge flagship price on contract, and limit it to one carrier....

I wonder why its not selling well.

35,000 phone sold in 20 days for that thing? It's better than what I would have expected. I don't want to be rude, but... 35,000 Amazon suckers?

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