Amazon lets users watch content off-line, kills Fire Phone

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is extending the ability to watch digital content while off-line, but is backing off on another of its mobile offerings: the Amazon Fire Phone.

Amazon will now let Prime members download TV shows and movies to watch off-line, something Netflix and Hulu aren't doing. Prime members in the U.S., the U.K, Germany and Austria can download and watch thousands of titles (although not all), including original series. While the option has been available on Amazon's Kindle products since 2013, the company is now extending off-line capabilities to Android and Apple devices.

"There's no doubt that the way people watch entertainment is changing—anytime, anywhere viewing is important and we are excited to provide our Prime members with off-line viewing capabilities on iOS and Android platforms starting today," said Michael Paull, VP of digital video at Amazon. "We are proud to be the first and only online subscription streaming service that enables off-line viewing—on vacation, in a car, at the beach, on a plane, wherever our Prime members want to watch they can, regardless of internet connection."

There are also signs that Amazon is preparing to launch a new version of its Fire TV box. The product has been out of stock for two weeks, a strong indication that a new model is being readied, according to Re/code.

While Amazon is creating new ways for consumers to interact with Amazon content and services on mobile devices, the company is abandoning efforts to make a compelling smartphone and is giving up on the Amazon Fire Phone, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The company has laid of many of those working on the phone, and also scaled back or stopped several projects in the divisions. Observers blame the device's 3D feature intended to create a more immersive viewing and shopping experience.

The Fire Phone launched in July 2014 with a $200 price tag, a miscalculation of what shoppers would pay. The phone was selling for just 99 cents two months later. The device was initially expected to boost Amazon sales and market share, but ultimately fell flat.

For more:
-See this Amazon press release
-See this Variety story
-See this Re/code article
-See this story in The Wall Street Journal

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