Amazon’s flop of a phone made newer, better hardware possible

Amazon devices have taken root in our homes with almost alarming speed, but the tech giant hasn't gotten everything right. Back in 2014, Amazon released the Fire Phone, an ambitious smartphone that remains the company's biggest hardware flop to date. The comapany has never confirmed how many Fire Phones it sold, but considering Amazon took a $170 million write-down in October of that year, it's fair to say the device bombed.

While the Fire Phone was a punchline and a commercial failure, it did lead to good things — eventually. In a conversation with Engadget at CES, Sandeep Gupta, Amazon's Technical Program Manager for Fire TV, suggested that the teams and processes built to make the Fire Phone reality also made possible the impressive hardware ecosystem we now see."Building the phone was sort of a trial by fire," Gupta said before groaning at his pun. "It was a very intense product, and we learned so much. And ...