Following an unsuccessful attempt to make its mark on the smartphone market with the Fire Phone, Amazon is said to have laid off dozens of employees at its hardware unit, Lab126. Although several projects are still in the works at the facility located in Sunnyvale, California, the retailer is said to have scrubbed development of a huge tablet with a 14-inch screen and a smart stylus along with its smartphone ambitions:
The Fire Phone, which was in development for four years, failed to drum up sufficient sales at launch, mainly due to an exorbitant launch price. Amazon quickly slashed the on-contract price of the phone down to 99 cents, which wasn't enough to warrant enough attention from consumers. The lack of Google services didn't make matters any easier, with Amazon having to take a $170 million write-down on unsold inventory of the phones.
The focus for the hardware unit — which is now folded into a single division made up of of Kindle tablet and e-reader teams — is on smart home products, such as the Echo speaker. Projects currently underway at the division reportedly include a high-end computer for the kitchen, a glasses-free 3D tablet and a Kindle with a battery life of up to two years:
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.