Amazon has fired dozens of employees at Lab126, the secretive hardware development center in silicon valley. The vast majority of them were from the engineering division that worked on the first Amazon branded smartphone, the Fire Phone. This was the first time in the companies 11 year history that key employees were let go from Lab126.
According to the Wall Street Journal “The company also has scaled back or halted some of Lab126’s more ambitious projects—including a large-screen tablet—and reorganized the division, combining two hardware units there into one, people familiar with the matter said.”
It does not look like their will be a second generation Fire Phone, as many engineers months ago were told. It looks like all future phone plans are shelved. This may be a good thing, because it really looks like Amazon is branching off into too many directions and none of the products are really that good.
The last calendar year Amazon developed a small cult following in the form of the Echo. They also released various models of the Dash shipping button, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, not to mention 4 new tablets and two e-readers.
Lab126 and Amazon have dozens of secretive things in development including a smart stylus internally called Nitro, which translates a users’ scribblings into digital shopping lists; a device dubbed Shimmer for projecting images on walls and other surfaces; and a tablet code-named Project Cairo, with a 14-inch screen.
I have heard that most employees who work on prototype projects at Lab126 want to make cool tech, but CEO Jeff Bezos wants to sell things at cost and turn them into gateways to buy more things from Amazon. This is causing some friction and many employees such as Jon McCormack, the chief technology officer are jumping ship to other companies.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.