Amazon's Scaled Back Consumer Device Efforts, Dash Button, and More

August 27, 2015
By: Paula Bernier

Word is that Amazon is scaling way back on its consumer devices efforts, having let go of dozens of Lab126 engineers who worked on its Fire phone, according to various reports. Amazon also is reportedly scaling back or stopping work on a large-screen tablet and reorganizing the group at the Silicon Valley hardware development center.

While Amazon never before has had layoffs, the news shouldn’t come as a total surprise, as the company’s Fire Phone (News - Alert) smartphone was a fail.

However, Amazon doesn’t appear to be totally abandoning its consumer device efforts.

The company just last month introduced the $4.99 Dash Button. These small, consumer product-branded things, about the size of two thumb drives, let consumers easily reorder from Amazon popular items such as Kraft macaroni and cheese, Gatorade, Gerber baby formula, and Tide laundry detergent. Just touch the Wi-Fi-connected Dash Button, and the product-specific order is placed, and the goods arrive on your doorstep the following day.

Also still expected from Amazon in the future are Kabinet, a kitchen computer and home networking hub; tablets with the ability to render 3D images; and a Kindle e-reader battery that lasts up to two years on a single charge.

Image via Shutterstock

Despite the scaling back of its consumer device ambitions, and the recent New York Times story that profiled several former Amazon employees speaking out about what they consider an unfriendly work environment at the online giant, Amazon is nonetheless flying “higher than ever,” according to a July story on Time’s Money site. 

“Amazon has arguably never been hotter,” the story reported. “After posting a surprise profit for the quarter ending June 30, the company’s stock surged 20% overnight on Thursday, resulting in the world’s largest e-retailer being worth more than Walmart. The impressive sales figures don’t even factor in last week’s Prime Day, the manufactured holiday that Amazon created to juice sales in the middle of summer that wound up surpassing Black Friday (News - Alert) in terms of orders and purchases.”

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino