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Amazon Fire: 6 Key Points
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anon1224217064
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anon1224217064,
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6/20/2014 | 11:18:56 AM
Great article...
...right up to your use of the term "icky."  Hard to take seriously once that was digested.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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6/20/2014 | 11:34:03 AM
Google Play concern
Eric isn't the only one raising the Google Play Store concern. See Amazon Fire: Here's The Rub.
JoeShmoe9000
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JoeShmoe9000,
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6/20/2014 | 11:47:07 AM
Convenient Oversight
While I will grant that Amazon's motivations are the most transparent, neigh flagrant, the thrust of this article rather conveniently ignores the two most dominant operating systems. Android and iOS. Both of which will root the consumer within one ecosystem or another. iPhone's number one purpose is to sell apps, which Apple does in great quantities. That says nothing of the music, movie, and magazine sales. Google may be the lesser offender, but numerous Google branded services are still pushed on the consumer. Try to be a little more balanced next time, please?
ANON1241631011972
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ANON1241631011972,
User Rank: Strategist
6/20/2014 | 12:04:16 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
"neigh?" really?  insert horselaugh here.  :-)  But, seriously, I don't know how an article about an unbalanced phone can be expected to maintain balance.  You are right that Apple has a closed system.  However, it is hardly fair to claim that, simply because Google sponsors Android, that it is a closed system.  After all, if that were true, the Fire would not even be possible since it is Android based.  And there are other marketplaces for Android apps besides Google--they just aren't as useful.  Sideloading apps is fairly easy on most Android devices--even those that, like Nook and Kindle, try to lock the user in.

So, criticizing the article for not pointing out all of the other closed systems out there seems to me to be missing the point.  The point of the article is that, unlike successful closed systems such as iOS, Amazon is not offering a compensating rich ecosystem for supporting the purpose of the smartphone, itself, to be competitive.  The iPhone is not simply about iTunes and paid apps, for example, although Apple certainly does profit from content as well as communication.
JoeShmoe9000
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JoeShmoe9000,
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6/20/2014 | 12:13:42 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
I'll keep the English strictly modern then, I wouldn't want to lose anyone. The word was ecosystem, not closed system. And unless you jailbreak your phone, it is in fact, a closed system. "They just arent't as useful?" Really? That is a rebuttle? I agree with you on the point of the article, I just think it's fatuous. The iPhone is honestly a device for selling. Consumers just benefit from the fact that is can be used as a communications device. Every Android phone, including the Fire, is trying to play catch-up. Amazon is just trying to get on the same bandwagon that Apple and Google have been riding. They just aren't being at all subtle about it. When the first iPhone and significant Android phones were released, everyone predicted abject failure. They were all, unequivocally, wrong. You also could not buy these phones, through normal consumer channels, unlocked for quite a while. Amazon isn't doing anything different. If they fail, it will because it's just too late for a new player.
ANON1241631011972
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ANON1241631011972,
User Rank: Strategist
6/20/2014 | 12:25:10 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
Sorry.  Making a gentle jest of your misuse of the word, "neigh," was childishly irresistable.  However, I see now that you seriously think it is an archaic synonum for "nay," which is what we all knew you meant.  That is not the case.  There is no dictionary that equates the two--either modern or archaic.  They all agree on some rendition of these two definitions of neigh (noun and verb):

"neigh (n) n. The long, high-pitched sound made by a horse. intr.v. neighed, neigh·ing, neighs. To utter the characteristic sound of a horse; whinny."

Having disposed of that piece of trivia, I agree with your overall analysis.  I just don't think it is a fair criticism of the author, whose point was simply to say that we don't need another closed system--especially one that is closed around a retailer that lacks the cachet of either an Apple or a Google in the computing/communication/content space.
ANON1241631011972
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ANON1241631011972,
User Rank: Strategist
6/20/2014 | 12:31:16 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
P.S.  In fact, I agree with you so much that I routinely root my phones so that I can decide how open or closed I want it to be.  After all, it is my property--paid for either outright at full retail price or, if acquired at a carrier discount, amortized over the life of the contract.  And I object strenuously to either the carrier or a content retailer controlling my property in a manner contrary to my wishes.  I pay them for services--not to dictate my use of my stuff.
UberGoober
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UberGoober,
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6/20/2014 | 12:48:01 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
A couple of points of correction:


1:  Sorry, but Eric has been an Apple fanboy going back the half-decade I've been reading IW online.  He's much less flagrant now, but he's lets his biases shine through on a regular basis.  This is obviously one such instance.  Apple is easily as flagrant as Amazon (more militant about keeping the ecosystem closed, actrually), and got there years earlier; that's one reason I, like many other folks, will never buy an Apple product.  Google, by the way goes after ad dollars the way the other two chase purchases, but not everyone considers that less offensive.

2: Why are two closed ecosystems good but three bad?  Its a consumer choice.  Did you feel that way when Google got into competition with Blackberry and Apple?  Or Apple got into competition with Blackberry and Palm?  In this case I prefer pure Android to FireOS (I own both), but I understand that I'm making a personal value judgement that not everyone will agree with (though of course, I'm right!).
ANON1241631011972
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ANON1241631011972,
User Rank: Strategist
6/20/2014 | 12:55:45 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
I am not making a moral (good vs. bad) judgment.  Only an evaluation based on my personal biases and experience as to whether the Fire phone is likely to compete favorably with the more established systems in the market.  And, given that it offers no compelling inducement to differentiate it over its established competition, I think it will flounder until it comes up with something that sets it apart more distinctly.  As with any "monkey trap," the fruit must be delicious enought to attract voluntary prisoners.  In this case, I think it isn't.  We will see if the market agrees.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
6/20/2014 | 3:09:29 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
Yes, the Fire Phone is built specifically with the idea that it will increase Amazon's retail sales. 

I don't see anything wrong with that. Let the market decide whether or not that is a viable smartphone option. 

The big concern, I think, is the lack of apps. If the Fire Phone cannot compete with Android apps, or make it difficult for existing apps to port, then I think that there is an issue. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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6/20/2014 | 4:30:50 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
I love my Kindle Fire and its lack of apps, when compared with my iPhone, hasn't struck me at all. In fact, it's easier to buy apps on my Kindle than on my iPhone because of inumerable problems I've had with iTunes... but that's another story! That said, I prefer to dilute all the info companies have on me. Google's got some, Apple's got some, and Amazon has other data. Let's not give the entire cartload to one! 
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
6/23/2014 | 1:32:43 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
I agree with you: I prefer to spread myself around so I'm not completely captured by one big company. Apple's walled garden of iTunes has always irritated me, but Amazon isn't an appealing option either. What I'm really waiting for is someone to start a brokerage company that puts me in charge of all my data and personal information and makes companies give me a cut when they pimp out my data. If I have to be sold, at least I should get a percentage.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
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6/21/2014 | 10:22:58 AM
Re: Convenient Oversight

The number of apps available will be a big concern. If the android apps can be used on the fire then problem solved however that's not the case at the moment I believe. You can run an amazon app on the iPhone and droid. What makes this phone stand out besides the dynamic perspective, which is cool at best.

Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
6/23/2014 | 7:32:13 AM
Re: Convenient Oversight
@Joeshmoe9000, interesting point about the ecosystem. Overall, I see the smartphone market as a two-player market i.e. Apple's iOS and the Samsung-Android combo, and everyone else that is trying to turn this two-player market into a three-player market. I guess, in this regard it would be better to compare the Fire Phone with a product like windows phone -- aiming to enter the market in scale. 
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/20/2014 | 1:22:45 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
Every mobile phone and OS provider has something to sell, be it apps or mobile ads. Sure, Apple and Google had ulterior motives for creating mobile phones and tablets. But with Amazon the ulterior motives are MUCH more glaring and self-serving.
MrEdofCourse
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MrEdofCourse,
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6/20/2014 | 3:19:29 PM
Re: Convenient Oversight
" iPhone's number one purpose is to sell apps, which Apple does in great quantities."

The number one purpose of the iPhone is to make a profit selling the iPhone itself.  The profit from content and services pales in comparison to the profit off the iPhone.

For Google, it makes money primarily off advertising with services and content being secondary.

Amazon is aiming to make money off content and product sales.

All 3 models have their pros and cons.  Amazon usually has fantastic hardware and a fairly low price as they build out their entire ecosystem.  Personally, I prefer the iPhone and I'm pretty entrenched in Apple's entire ecosystem (Macs, iPads, Apple TV), but I do have a Nexus 7 and a Fire TV, so I can see the pros and cons of each.
ANON1241631011972
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ANON1241631011972,
User Rank: Strategist
6/20/2014 | 11:52:59 AM
I totally agree!
As an Amazon Prime member, I certainly am no adversary of their business model.  However, my phone is MINE!  I have two objections to the Fire:  First, the single carrier launch.  I understand that there needs to be carrier partnership but ignoring the huge Verizon market is a big mistake.  Second, an Android based phone that deliberately isolates customers from the mature Google apps marketplace is pretty much doomed.

 

Aside from that, as the article points out, the central theme of a phone is to support the customer's needs for multi-dimensional communication.  The heart of the Fire is to create a one-dimensional dependency on Amazon.  I predict this phone will fail to gain market share in the absence of any other compelling feature that compensates a buyer for giving up the more established sources of support and convenience for smartphone users.
GaryY450
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GaryY450,
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6/20/2014 | 11:55:26 AM
Amazon Fire
Why in the HELL! Isn't it available in an unlocked version.? I've nothing but bad a experiences with AT&T.
JohnnyM585
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JohnnyM585,
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6/20/2014 | 12:56:10 PM
gimmick
Here....buy this phone.  It will help you buy more stuff from us.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
6/20/2014 | 1:50:05 PM
Ugh, no thanks
A crippled Android os is a major turnoff, one of the biggest pitfalls with the Kindle Fire.  And the 'Mayday' feature is not going to sell past that.  This thing must have a specific target audience...
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/20/2014 | 4:33:20 PM
Re: Ugh, no thanks
Good question. Who is the audience? I've been trying to figure that out.

Older, AT&T-inclined shopping addicts who call customer support every time their phone vibrates?
progman2000
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progman2000,
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6/20/2014 | 4:39:14 PM
Re: Ugh, no thanks
Yeah that was kind of my thought as well.  The 'Mayday' feature kind of hints to users that are graduating up from their old Jitterbug phone...
MattN577
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MattN577,
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6/20/2014 | 2:01:25 PM
Well said!
Your last two paragraphs perfectly sum up my reaction. Thank you!
DavidB702
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DavidB702,
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6/20/2014 | 2:14:31 PM
The biggest problem
I'm invested in Amazon's infrastructre, I have their credit card, Prime, a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, my young son has a Kindle Fire HD 8.9, I have a FireTV box.  Honestly none of that "problem" bothers me, nor does lack of access to Google Play store (installing any available Android app is simple on my Fire HDX, and it's not "rooted" and Google Chrome is it's default web browser).  The Amazon app store is available on essentially every device I use (I own no Apple product), and once I make a purchase there the app/content is available to all my devices (even my BlackBerry!), so for me that's WIN with respect to this phone.  No, the biggest "problem" with the Fire smartphone is the AT&T exclusivity.  If I wanted a Fire smartphone I'd have to talk my wife into buying a new iPhone and us switching off of Verizon, neither of which for me are within the realm of possibility.  For launching this phone as a AT&T exclusive I'm really disappointed in Amazon.

 

 
eboneezer
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eboneezer,
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6/20/2014 | 2:33:02 PM
icky feeling
"There's something about the Fire Phone's tie-in to a single, giant purveyor of goods that feels icky to me. I'd rather not feel that way about my smartphone, and I'm betting others might feel the same......."

This statement kind of contradicts the complaint earlier in the article about no having the Google Play Store does it not?  Google the omnipresent, all encompassing purveyor makes me feel icky.

 

 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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6/20/2014 | 3:29:41 PM
Amazon, not in Apple's fashion class
I agree that Amazon shouldn't be singled out for producing a device that helps you buy stuff from them. Both the iPhone and Android universes had their own "extract dollars from the consumer" strategies. Apple stands out with its former ability to make it high fashion to do this, with eager participation from the loyal consumer. Android has clearly fallen short on that measure, and Amazon, well, if it's so obvious that you're producing a device through which you plan to sell stuff, then you've fallen out of the fashion window entirely. Being late has its penalties.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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6/20/2014 | 3:46:01 PM
Re: Amazon, not in Apple's fashion class
Saying "feels icky to me" hits it square on the head. At least when Apple manipulates its customers it leaves them feeling good about it, judging from product loyalty. Amazon should have devoted the R&D money to fixing some of the problems on its site.
KristineSantos
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KristineSantos,
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6/20/2014 | 4:37:07 PM
Re: Amazon, not in Apple's fashion class
I think part of that's because people buy Apple in part for the Apple image. Apple's brand is one of innovation and creativity, but Amazon's brand isn't the same. When I think of Amazon, I think of the ease of finding something and having everything at my fingertips. Aamazon having 1 million fewer apps than Google Play goes against that and makes that "icky" feeling.
FrankH790
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FrankH790,
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6/20/2014 | 5:17:12 PM
Re: Amazon, not in Apple's fashion class
You feel good about Apple? Good to know how many people could not care less that their products are made by children in slave labor conditions in China and other parts of the world.

 

Good to know!
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
6/20/2014 | 6:01:35 PM
Re: Amazon, not in Apple's fashion class
Actually, we're an Apple-free household. However, I am not sure any electronics manufacturer is innocent in that regard.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
6/23/2014 | 7:58:45 AM
4 Front Facing Cameras
The number of apps available in Amazon's apps store will be a limiting factor for this phone, but this number (250k) is still reasonable considering that windows phones have an app store that has roughly, 270K apps. With time, it will be interesting to see the kind of apps that developers can imagine that are enabled by 4 front facing cameras. A single app that creates a quality user case could make 4 cameras standards on the next gen of smart phones. 


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