Amazon's flagship smartphone is finally out, and that means that over at iFixit HQ it's teardown time.
While on the outside the Fire Phone is sleek and smooth, according to iFixit the inside is "a veritable mess of cables, connectors, and glue." For anyone thinking of buying a Fire Phone with the idea of repairing it if something goes wrong, the iFixit verdict on this is simple – don't buy it.
The Fire Phone receives a repairability score of 3 out of 10, where 10 is easiest to repair. Even simple repairs are made hard thanks to glue and fragile cables, and replacing a cracked screen will mean either having to replace the four Dynamic Perspective cameras encased in the front element too, or spend a lot of time transferring – possibly unsuccessfully – the cameras to a new screen.
Inside the Fire Phone Samsung and Qualcomm are the winners.
- Samsung K3QF2F200A-QGCE 16 Gb (2 GB) LPDDR3 RAM with the 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU with 450 MHz Adreno 330 GPU sandwiched into the die
- Samsung KLMBG4GEAC-B001 32 GB eMMC NAND Flash
- Qualcomm WCD9320 audio codec
- Qualcomm QFE2320 multiband power amplifier
- InvenSense MPU6500
- NXP 47803 NFC controller
- Qualcomm PM8941 power management IC
- Qualcomm WTR1625L RF transceiver
- Skyworks SKY85702-11 5 GHz WLAN front-end module
- Qualcomm WCN3680 802.11ac combo Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM chip (which supports
- Bluetooth LE 4.0 but isn't yet active, which means that the current range of smartwatches aren't yet supported)
- InvenSense IDG2021 2-Axis OIS gyroscope
There's no doubt that Amazon also has steep challenges to face in breaking into the smartphone arena. The first is that as a single retailer it will have to shift tens of millions of handsets in order to even twitch the needle in terms of market share. If we just look at Android alone, there are now over 1.5 million devices being activated daily.
Then let's not forget that the Android ecosystem is dominated by a single player – Samsung. I've lost count of the myriad of tablets and smartphones this company currently has on offer. And it's a company that has a reputation for making good products.
Amazon is using easy access to its empire as a lure, but whether this is a big enough pull to get users to swap their smartphones for the Fire Phone remains to be seen. There's also a worry that Amazon has packed too much of itself into the Fire Phone, and that users will feel that they are paying a premium for the privilege of being allowed to spend more money with Amazon.