T3‘s Jeff Parsons fans the flames of Amazon’s Fire
Jeff Bezos’s retail megacorp has been carefully simplifying our online buys since 1997, when it introduced the handy but wallet-worrying one-click payment method. Now, 17 years later, we have the Fire Phone, a perfect payment portal.
Unlike other manufacturers, who release devices and grow an ecosystem to support them, Amazon has spent the past twenty years assembling an empire. Ye olde website is the de-facto price measurement, if not sales till, for most of our shopping, while Amazon Instant Video is taking on Netflix. Now it’s time to leverage it all.
But while the Fire Phone may convince you to invest in more ebooks, music and movies, what it won’t do is unseat the iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8 in the minds of the majority of buyers. At US$649 for a 32GB model without a contract, Amazon isn’t really competing very hard on price. And while features such as Dynamic Perspective and Mayday are nice, they don’t have the same instant appeal that, say, Apple’s Touch-ID does.
The Fire Phone is an opening smartphone salvo and, like the Kindle tablets, it is sure to carve out a niche of fans. If Amazon wants to outsmart and outsell Apple and Android in the long run, though, it will have to learn to innovate more, not just sell us stuff on demand.