Amazon Lays Off Engineers Behind Fire Phone, Reorganizes Hardware Division

You’ve probably never heard of Lab126, but you’ve definitely heard of their parent company and their products. They’re a division of Amazon, started in Silicon Valley eleven years ago to create the e-reader that we now know as the Kindle. They also created some projects that haven’t caught on quite as well, like the Fire Phone, and engineers who worked on that projects have reportedly been sent on their way.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “dozens of engineers” have been laid off from Lab126 (A and Z are the 1st and 26th letters of the alphabet… get it?) recently, and they were part of the team behind the doomed Fire Phone. Lab126 is also responsible for other Amazon hardware like the Echo, Kindle and Kindle Fire, and FireTV, and has about 3,000 employees.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the phone, exactly, and the company couldn’t blame its unpopularity on a lack of promotion: the device just failed to catch on, even when it was available for only 99 cents, because a tiny 3-D screen is not a compelling enough reason for most people to buy a smartphone. Amazon wrote off $170 million on the whole enterprise, and we don’t know whether they plan to try again and create another phone.

Amazon Curtails Development of Consumer Devices [Wall Street Journal]