Google IO 2016 Coverage

Amazon still wants to be in your hand, just not with its own phone

The Amazon logo is seen on a podium duri

In 2014, Amazon entered an entirely new world by releasing the Fire Phone. The company designed thought consumers would relish a handset designed by their favorite online retailer and all of the services it runs. But Amazon thought completely wrong. The Fire Phone was met with bad reviews mostly because of limitations and price. While Android was present, the software was covered with an underwhelming forked version. Owners of the handset were forced to use Amazon’s restricted app store and other software features that just didn’t add value. On top of mid-range specifications, Amazon was charging a high-end price. The Fire Phone cost hundreds of dollars off-contract and AT&T was the exclusive carrier. It took more than a year for the company to realize how awful everything the handset was, leading to layoffs and price cuts.

The Fire Phone was ultimately put to rest in September 2015, but Amazon isn’t giving up on phones anytime soon. People familiar with Amazon’s internal discussions told The Information that the company is seeking software partnerships to get better placement on mobile devices.

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WhatsApp drops the $1 annual fee on all platforms, moves to introduce business communication tools to source revenue

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WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging services around, serving almost a billion people globally on a multitude of operating systems that range from our beloved Android to iOS, BlackBerry, and even Windows Phone. While, for many of us, the $1 annual fee that WhatsApp charges is neither here nor there, it can be a huge stumbling block for some users who don’t have access to card payments. In its efforts to attract yet more customers, WhatsApp had decided to drop the annual fee in its entirety. Read more