Hit or Miss? Amazon launches the Fire smartphone

Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos yesterday revealed the Fire smartphone at a special event in Seattle.

 The Fire: Launched by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos at a special event in Seattle (Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The Fire: Launched by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos at a special event in Seattle (Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The phone features all the latest technology, including both facial recognition and a 3D camera, and becomes available in the US in late July.
But how successful was its launch, and has the online retail giant done enough to break into an already crowded market?

How I See It

Ivana Farthing, head of mobile and consumer technology, Diffusion

The launch of the Fire phone should come as no surprise – it has been one of Amazon’s worst-kept secrets.

Amazon embraced the rumours and speculation around the device launch. It added fuel to the fire by releasing a video a few weeks before launch showing people apparently reacting to the new device.

And it worked – the video on its own drove more than 2.6 million views, alongside much commentary on what could have caused the reactions in the video.

While Amazon has followed Apple’s age-old launch model (cryptic teaser invites followed by a CEO launch presentation), it took the teasers to the next level.

It also opened up the Fire launch to a limited number of fans as well as press, showing the company’s commitment to driving brand advocates within the wider community.

But perhaps one of the most successful things about the launch is that Amazon has managed to use these teasers to distract attention away from negative stories that have kept the brand under fire over recent months – from its poor employment practices to UK tax avoidance rows.

For now the launch looks like it has been a hit, or at least a semi-hit based on initial feedback around whether the device is genuinely innovative or a bit of a gimmick.

The iPhone 5S was mentioned 585,000 times on social media sites during its launch day, whereas the Amazon phone was mentioned 87,677 times.

But Amazon phone mentions have increased approximately tenfold over the past 24 hours, and it’s still early days for the device. Only time will tell once shipping starts whether it is the hit that Amazon is hoping for.

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