Amazon’s Fire Phone is officially a bust

Strike one.
Strike one.
Image: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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Amazon’s Fire Phone isn’t selling. The company said today “it would take a $170 million charge ‘primarily related to Fire phone inventory valuation and supplier commitment costs’,” Recode’s Jason Del Ray reports.

The Fire Phone was worth a try, but ultimately not good enough. Amazon gave few reasons for anyone to buy its phone instead of Apple’s iPhone or any random Android device. The Fire Phone was mediocre—it has a two-star rating on Amazon—and there was nothing disruptive about how Amazon priced it.

Amazon would be smart to keep experimenting with mobile products—the Fire Phone’s unique shopping features could have been a win-win for the online retailer. But Amazon either needs to do a much better job creating its devices, or focus its efforts on developing software for the two mobile platforms that matter: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.