We live in an era where tech comes, gets one-upped, and fizzles out quickly. There’s always something newer, with big claims of why it’s better, lurking right around the corner. Calculators, an instrument that was at one time an investment purchase, can be found in the aisles of any CVS for under a couple of dollars. Computers from the 1980s are used as terrariums by millennials who enjoy irony, flip phones are laughable, and the iPhone 6 has already put its earlier generations to rest. Never in my life would I expect technology produced by worldwide powerhouse Amazon to become about as relevant as an abacus quite so quickly.
In just 46 days, Amazon dropped its price of the Fire Phone from $199 to 99 cents. Yes, cents. Next time you’ve got a dollar burning a hole in your pocket, you can now throw Amazon’s smart phone into the conversation when someone suggests ordering a Redbox or browsing McDonald’s dollar menu.
What happened that reduced Amazon’s firstborn phone to pocket change? A combination of events led to the underwhelm. Some circumstance, some speculation, but one was definitely Apple’s unveiling of the iPhone 6. Amazon slashed the price of the Fire just days before Apple launched the iPhone 6. Were they anticipating heavy competition and hoping to attract some of Apple’s potential customers with a last resort price cut? Probably. Though, if someone offered me a phone at such reduced cost, I’d be wary of why I could purchase a piece of sophisticated technology for roughly the same cost of four gumballs. Maybe I’m a skeptic.
Fair enough, Apple does serve as the leading innovator for smart technology, even though Droid is the most popular phone worldwide. Standing against the release of their latest hysteria-inducing pocket friend could intimidate anyone. But why didn’t it sell before now?
It’s just speculation, but if there’s one thing we feel we know about the American public, it’s that we don’t like being sold to. We are sold to constantly – we’re now at a time where the commercials between Pandora songs feel like an eternity, and will turn the volume down for the 4 second slot. But we also like choices. We want medium, rare and well-done with everything. Feeling like we’re being funneled into buying from Amazon.com just by scrolling through our phone? No thanks. The idea behind it is great – point your phone at an item – any item! – and Firefly will tell you where to buy it. Only giving users the option of buying a product from Amazon, while using an Amazon phone, all of which exclusively benefits, you guessed it, Amazon….maybe that’s a little too Big Brother for us to feel comfortable.
All this aside, Amazon will still make money. The sales generated from Firefly Technology go right back into the honey pot. Fire owners receive a year of free Amazon Prime membership, which they will likely continue. However, the Fire’s first backers, purchasers and supporters are at a great loss, and they aren’t getting a cut of sales that stream in from Firefly. Should Jeff Bezos issue out an apology? Maybe. Steve Jobs had to shell out an apology along with $100 to the iPhone’s early purchasers after the device dropped from $599 to $399 just a few weeks after launch. Let’s face fact – the Fire crashed and burned. Maybe Bezos isn’t worried about the bridges catching fire in its wake.
What do you think – do you know anyone who actually purchased or got burned by the Fire?