After producing a long line of e-book readers and tablets (not to mention a set-top box), Amazon has its sights set on the smartphone market. But finding success here won’t be easy, even for an established tech giant like Amazon. With the Fire phone, the online retailer is coming in as an unproven underdog, hoping to bring iPhone and Android users into its fold. CEO Jeff Bezos says the only way to do that is to differentiate; to wow potential buyers with new features they didn’t even realize they needed. These unique offerings include 3D head-tracking, product scanning and fast help from customer service agents.
Regardless of the bells and whistles on offer here, Amazon is walking down a difficult path: The Fire is only available on AT&T, and at $200 on-contract ($650 full retail), it’s going up against high-end devices from companies that have been making phones for years. In order to win over customers, Amazon has to convince them that the Fire is worth dropping loyalties, switching carriers, resigning contracts and handing over a lot of money. Unfortunately, the company has a few lessons to learn before that’s going to happen.