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Will Amazon’s Fire Phone flop finally kill flagship carrier exclusives?

Published Aug 21st, 2014 10:00PM EDT
Amazon Fire phone Sales AT&T

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We’re not sure how many times we have to say this, but offering your premiere piece of hardware as a carrier exclusive is not a good idea. New research from Chitika shows that Amazon’s Fire Phone hasn’t been a smashing success so far and that Amazon’s decision to make it an AT&T exclusive may be a big part of the reason why.

FROM EARLIER: Amazon’s Fire Phone looks like 2014’s most epic flop

“While the Fire Phone was listed atop Amazon’s Best Seller list for several days in early August, North American usage of the device has grown only incrementally, rather than exponentially, in the three weeks following the smartphone’s launch as an AT&T exclusive,” writes Chitika. “Usage rates of the LG G3 rose relatively sharply following its release earlier in the summer, particularly once Verizon and Sprint began offering the device on July 17 and 18, respectively. This contrasts starkly to Amazon’s Fire Phone, with that device’s usage growth remaining steady but relatively flat over the same post-launch time period.”

Most smartphone manufacturers have grown wise to the fact that carrier exclusives for flagship devices often do little to boost sales and inherently limit the number of people who will buy your phone. Apple, Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG all now launch their best phones on multiple carriers, although the most recent flagships from both Amazon and Nokia were each carrier exclusives. Hopefully Amazon’s experience with launching the device only on AT&T will make it think twice before following the same strategy with future releases.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.