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Amazon scaling back hardware plans after Fire Phone flop

A new report claims that Amazon is revising its approach to hardware after the disastrous launch of the Amazon Fire Phone.

It’s a commonly known fact that Amazon’s first (and to date only) smartphone was a sales disaster. The retail giant last year famously took a £100 million hit on its unsuccessful Fire Phone.

Now the true cost of that failure is being felt, according to The Wall Street Journal. The publication claims that Amazon has dismissed dozens of engineers who worked on the Fire Phone at the company’s secretive Lab126 hardware division.

You might think that such layoffs happen all the time, but they don’t to Amazon. In fact, these job cuts are apparently the first of their kind in the company’s 11-year history.

Amazon appears to be rethinking its hardware strategy, and the Lab126 division has reportedly been reorganised from two hardware divisions into one.

Some of the product-shaped victims of this downsizing are said to include a 14-inch tablet, an ambitious smart stylus known as Nitro, and a projector known internally as Shimmer. Whether these projects have been halted altogether or just placed on hold is unknown at this point.

It’s claimed that Amazon’s hardware lab still has a voice-controlled kitchen computer named Kabinet in the works, as well as a glasses-free 3D tablet. The company clearly hasn’t given up on non-Kindle hardware altogether, in other words.

Related: 5 Amazon announcements that took us by surprise

The Amazon Fire Phone’s failure came down to gimmicky and expensive features like a 3D screen, which in turn drove up the price to an uncompetitive level.

However, Lab126 has had its fair share of hits in its time, including the Kindle Fire HDX range of tablets and the Fire TV set-top-box.

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