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The Amazon Fire Phone

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    Was first introduced in July of 2014. It entered the market as an AT&T Exclusive. This is a very important piece of information seeing that AT&T was also the first platform to host the world renowned iPhones. That being said, it was entering a market already being dominated by its competitor and wasn’t really providing any real breakthrough technology. It’s only real feature, deemed a gimick by many, was it’s “Dynamic Perspective” which was a feature that enabled 3D image. The only problem with this seemingly unique trait and potential breakthrough technology was that it had no practical purposes at the time other than playing some low resolution games on the 720p screen the Fire Phone provided. Upon its launch, the Fire Phone has received multiple criticism on top of skeptical expectations before the product’s launch. There were several issues that caused these negative responses from the market that can be broken down according to the 4P of Marketing Mix.

    Firstly, the product itself highlighted multiple features that were aimed to be its selling points, such as Dynamic Perspective, 3D Graphics and Firefly, a feature that allowed users to scan and identify multiple products. The problem is that these features were unnecessary at that time and did not come up to the market’s expectations. On top of that, the Fire Phone’s Operating System, Fire OS, was also limited as compared to other smartphones at that era as the product was not compatible for many popular mobile applications such as Google Maps and Starbucks. On top of the product’s shortcomings, the Fire Phone came with an unreasonable price tag. With a two-year contract, the Fire Phone initally was priced at U$199, the same price as an iPhone at that time. Without contract, the Fire Phone was had a whooping US$650 price tag. At that point, the price tag could not justify the phone’s unnecessary features and limiting operating system.

    Moving on to the place of distribution. As mentioned before, the Fire Phone was launched as AT&T Exclusive. Not only did this move placed the customers’ expectations way too high for the actual product, it also hurt the product launch. In 2014, other phones launched as AT&T Exclusive, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, had proven successful. Amazon’s AT&T Exclusive launch of the Fire Phone was hurt because as compared to previously succesful AT&T Exclusive lines, the Fire Phone was not even able to be comparable (Rubin & Cheng). Finally, the promotional aspect. Amazon’s biggest mistake was to introduce the phone as a ground-breaking, high-technology smartphone at a time when the market only needed an actually smart smartphone. Highlighting its unnecessary features in its marketing campaigns shifted the market’s focus away from its smart capabilities as a smart phone, to its overly-hyped features that ended up being its biggest failures.

    Rather than giving what the market wants, the Fire Phone’s campaigns promised that if customers get used to it, these new and alien features would be worth it – a move that Amazon did not really think through. There are several things that Amazon should have considered before introducing the Fire Phone. Firstly, Amazon should have gone towards the direction of Market Penetration rather than Product Development. Market Penetration is the strategy of introducing existing products to an existing market. Whereas Product Development is the strategy of introducing new products to an existing market.

    With further market research, Amazon would have understood that at that time, customers were only getting into smartphones and its already astonishing features. The market was not in need of new and alien features. Instead, Amazon should have developed a product that reminds customers of the smartphones that were already available, and upgrade features based on those. This way, Amazon would place itself among the already succesful smartphone manufacturers and the Fire Phone would have earned its place as a comparable product among other smartphones of its era. Moreover, developing a Marketing Mix for technological products should have been a bigger focus for Amazon, such as deciding on a more appropriate distribution channels and focusing on more attractive messages on its campaigns. Should the Fire Phone be introduced in multiple carriers with marketing campaigns that place it as comparable but better with other smartphones, the Fire Phone could have had its chance on surviving the market.

     

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