The Fire Phone – Phone or Shopping Bag?



I am generally apprehensive when it comes to Amazon, and even more when I hear Android. I have never had bad experiences with either (so far), but from my interaction with both, it has always left me frustrated (I have plenty of Kindle devices at my work place FYI). When it comes to online shopping, I am very comfortable using Flipkart, an Indian retailer. And OS-wise my preference is Windows Phone any given day.

This is more about the Fire Phone and less about Android OS. Amazon has tablets, and a robust monopoly of online retail. Heck they even have drones now! Then…why a phone?

Let’s find out…

All that glitters…is not a phone.

I will start with the most interesting and eye-catching aspect of the phone. Four cameras to detect your head’s movement, giving you a 3D parallax effect throughout the operating system, from icons to apps and not just limited the lockscreen, like in iOS 7. (I can hear all those who complained of motion sickness with iOS 7 running away screaming…)

Wow! At first, even I was amazed. It looks splendid, no doubt about that. People love gimmicks these days. It’s more about style and less about substance. So let’s run through a quick check-list I always carry with me in my pocket when I see a new device. Can this “cool” effect help me make a call faster? No. Can it connect to the internet faster? No. Can it open my mail and respond in record time? Again, a big fat NO. Then what does it do? In Jeff Bezo’s words, “It delights you”. Yea, sure.

Working in advertising for 6 years, it takes me less than one minute to understand when someone is trying to sell me a strategy and when they are selling me a mere product. Fire Phone is NOT a product. It’s a strategy. To SELL you as many products on Amazon as they can, at a much faster rate than ever.
Behind all the shine and glitter, Amazon is actually selling you a phone to boost their sales. And oh, you will be paying them 649$ for that BTW.

Where’s my bug spray!

Fire Fly is one of the many features the Fire Phone was proudly shown with. Quite honestly, Windows Phone did this a couple of years back with Bing Vision. You hold the phone before any product, the camera scans it and you get all the details about it in a jiffy! WoW! Fantastic! But oh wait…can’t I just Googl…NO YOU CAN’T!

Fire Fly app takes you directly to the Amazon Store where you can purchase that product in a blink. See? A strategy! It’s a shopaholic’s wet dream in all honesty. Like I said, Bing Vision accomplished this without any selfish interest of selling you anything.
This is perhaps the biggest reason why Amazon has actually come up with a handheld device. “Who wants an app when you can make a phone?” thought Bezos one day.

Mayday WHAT?

The phone also has this feature called ‘Mayday’ to make you feel important. An Amazon executive is just a call away to help you with anything in the phone you are not able to do. Now hold on a second. Why the hell would anyone buy an $800 device and not know how to use it? Does that even make any sense? It’s a phone for god’s sake not a Lunar Rocket! It’s an absolutely wasted idea on a device like this IMHO.

Though the effort is commendable, I for one am far from considering buying it in the near future.


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