Skip to main content

Amazon responds to Fire Phone criticism with long-term vision

Amazon has hit back at criticism of its Amazon Fire Phone's failure to meet sales targets, comparing it to the first Kindle e-reader launched back in 2007.

Despite selling just 35,000 handsets in the US since June, the company's European vice president of devices Jorrit Van der Meulen said Amazon would stand by its product.

Read more: Amazon admits Fire Phone price failure as sales dry up

"If you look at version one of the Kindle e-reader it was pretty bad, like the reviews we received on it," he told the Guardian. "But we said we're going to keep going, keep investing and do this eventually, receiving many lumps along the way."

The handset was launched to much fanfare over its 3D features and face-tracking cameras, but the consumer response to the device has been mixed so far. The Fire Phone currently holds an average rating of 2.3 out of five on Amazon's customer review page.

The smartphone has struggled to compete with more established names in the market such as Samsung and Apple, which typically sell millions of units within the first few months.

Despite reports that Amazon was forced to write off $170 million (£106 million) on unsold Fire Phones, the company insists that its foray into the smartphone arena is a long-term project.

Hinting at the release of the Fire Phone's next iteration, Van der Meulen admitted that the firm is not immune to criticism.

"We certainly read everything that's written from customers to journalists and take note, so might the second step be slightly different than our first step, sure. I suspect that it will be," he said.

Read more: Amazon Fire Phone: Hero or zero?

There's no official word on when the Fire Phone 2 might be available, but with the first iteration struggling to gain traction with consumers, a 2015 launch seems likely.