2No More Exclusivity Deals, Amazon
One of the biggest mistakes Amazon made with its Fire Phone was its decision to only offer it on AT&T’s network in the U.S. Exclusivity may have worked in the early days of the iPhone, but it just doesn’t work in today’s mobile market. That’s why so many of the companies with the most popular products market their handsets through most major service providers. Carrier-agnosticism is an absolute necessity.
3Significantly Improve the Hardware Features
One of the big complaints from Fire Phone reviewers was that the smartphone lacked the hardware and software features to make it a winner. The smartphone came with a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, which was already behind other flagship devices at launch. In addition, its Adreno 330 graphics processor, while nice, was by no means the top-of-the-line option Amazon wanted customers to believe it was. Plus, the smartphone’s 720p resolution was a significant issue with smartphone buyers.
4Offer Multiple Display Sizes
The current Fire Phone comes in one size—4.7 inches. However, if Amazon wants to be more competitive in the marketplace, the company needs to think seriously about offering multiple screen sizes. The 4.7-inch version is fine for many, but a phablet version with a screen larger than 5 inches could be even better. Most successful companies offer multiple screen sizes. Amazon should be no different.
5Fire OS Needs to Work Better on Smartphone Screens
Fire OS was cited as a real issue for some reviewers who tried out the Fire Phone earlier this year. Those reviewers said that while Fire OS is nice in its own right, its transition from the tablet screen size to smartphones wasn’t as seamless as it could have been. Considering Amazon is competing against iOS, an operating system that has been improved each year, the Fire Phone maker must respond with a significant OS upgrade to attract buyers.
6Fire Phone Needs a More Innovative Design
The Fire Phone’s design was rather boring. The device is a standard black handset with rounded corners and several sensors and cameras on the front. There is nothing truly special about the Fire Phone’s design that would put it on an even playing field with the iPhone or Samsung smartphones. Design matters in the smartphone market. It appears, however, that Amazon didn’t pay close attention to this factor. The next time around, Amazon better think seriously about a solid design.
7Amazon Must Cozy Up to Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
One of Amazon’s biggest issues over the last few years has been its competition with brick-and-mortar retailers. The giant online retailer’s success is one of the main reasons why so many brick-and-mortar store chains are struggling these days. But for the Fire Phone 2 to be successful, Amazon needs to find a way to get its device into as many stores as possible. That means partnering with competing retailers and making them feel like they should carry its smartphone. Amazon has done that somewhat successfully with the Kindle Fire, which is available at Best Buy, Staples, and Toys ‘R Us, among other locations. It now must do the same with the Fire Phone 2.
8Amazon Needs to Get Aggressive on Fire Phone Prices
While customers can get their hands on the Fire Phone for free now, it wasn’t like that from the beginning. Amazon offered the Fire Phone for $199 with a two-year contract initially, putting it in direct competition with other flagship handsets. One of the things that made Amazon’s tablets successful was their low price point. Amazon should consider dropping the price considerably on the Fire Phone 2 to maximize the price-to-value ratio and put real pressure on competitors.
9Demonstrate That Firefly, Dynamic Perspective Deliver Real Value
Whether it was Firefly, which can recognize anything from phone numbers to movies, or Dynamic Perspective, the sensor system that responds to the way the handset was positioned, some users and reviewers complained that the add-ons built into the smartphone were “gimmicky.” Of course, they have real-world value, but Amazon didn’t do a good enough job proving that. If Firefly and Dynamic Perspective come to the Fire Phone 2, Amazon must address that issue.
10It Might Be Amazon, but Don’t Talk E-Commerce
So, what was the point of Firefly? In general, people thought it was e-commerce. In fact, there were quite a few folks who said that the Amazon feature, which allows users to take images of anything and provide a relevant result based on the action, was the company’s ploy to attract more people to buy products on its site. While that might be the end game, Amazon needs to remember that with the Fire Phone 2, it’s about hardware and software first, not e-commerce.
11Show the Big Differences as Soon as Possible
Given the fact that Amazon was forced to write-down inventory, it’s safe to say that the Fire Phone was a flop. That means that when it comes time to releasing the Fire Phone 2, Amazon will need to work much harder to get customers’ attention. So, Amazon must build in all of the features and components that customers would want most from a new smartphone and make clear from the outset that the Fire Phone 2 is correcting the mistakes it made in the first smartphone. Absent that, it’s hard to see how Amazon could possibly be successful in today’s hotly contested market. Amazon must prove that it has learned from its mistakes and can fix them.