Skip to main content

Amazon reportedly lays off ‘dozens’ of engineers in wake of Fire Phone flop

amazon reportedly lays off dozens of engineers in wake fire phone flop

Amazon’s secretive “Lab126” hardware R&D facility in Silicon Valley has reportedly given notice to “dozens” of engineers who worked on the company’s poorly received Fire Phone. The apparent shake-up suggests the company may have given up on the idea of a Fire Phone sequel, or at the very least put it on the back burner.

Sources with knowledge of the matter told the Wall Street Journal the lay-offs were the first in the unit’s 11-year history, and come as the e-commerce giant reassesses a number of its current projects, taking the ax to some while pushing ahead with others. Ditched or scaled back projects are thought to include a huge 14-inch tablet that was being developed under the codename Project Cairo, a “smart stylus” going by the name of Nitro that transformed scribbled notes into a digital shopping list, and a projector called Shimmer.

Engineers are, however, continuing to work on a “high-end computer for the kitchen.” Called Kabinet, the platform is expected to function as a hub for connected homes, responding to voice commands much in the same way as its recently launched Echo speaker-cum-virtual-assistant. They’re also thought to be working on a tablet that offers 3D images without the need for special specs, as well as a Kindle e-reader battery that can last a whopping two years on a single charge.

Amazon’s apparent move to cut its R&D workforce and halt projects is thought to reflect a new company strategy to rein in development costs in a bid to boost profits, according to the Journal. This change in approach appears to be working for the Seattle-based firm. Last month, for instance, it reported a $92 million second-quarter profit, a massive turnaround from the $126 million loss posted 12 months earlier.

Many of Amazon’s most popular hardware products have come out of its Lab126 facility, including its range of Kindle e-readers and tablets, while last year was a particularly productive one for the unit, with engineers pushing out around 10 different devices. However, for the immediate future at least, it seems things will be a little quieter.

Editors' Recommendations