What “Customers” Are Saying About the Amazon Fire Phone

An Amazon “customer”:

It’s kind of like I’m looking at a different world when I’m just looking at the lock screen.

It may just be that I’m in a prickly mood today, but I find this “See what customers have to say” video from Amazon (click the “watch the video” button) re: their new Fire Phone to be particularly infuriating. The first half of the video is full of Orwellian doublespeak like:

Dynamic Perspective reflects the way that we interact with the world naturally.


The device feels more attached to the environment that you’re in and how you hold it and how you move.

We also get modern technobabble that is completely disengaged from what we’re seeing with our eyes:

I moved a lot more than I usually do while I’m playing games on my phone. I felt really engaged like I was actually snowboarding.

The second half of the video is dedicated to features that don’t work nearly as well—on any device—as advertised, such as tilt-scrolling. But we’re supposed to believe it because the no-nonsense-not-even-a-techie-dude tells us that, “It's just easier to scroll this way.”

Firefly is the one feature I find somewhat compelling—unless, of course, you stop to consider the first example, told by a cute-but-not-too-cute perky little blond child:

If it’s a book, it’ll tell you the name of the book and where to get it.

Sounds neat—except the cover of the book usually does a fine job of letting you in on the secret that is the title. And if you already own the book, why would you need to know where to buy it? And if you don’t, and you’re scanning the cover of the book, aren’t you already someplace where you can buy it? And if it just happens to be that you’re at a friend’s house, a friend who already owns the book, why wouldn’t you just—ask your friend where they got it? (Assuming you’re actually stupid enough to need to ask someone where they purchased a book.)

And then we have the finale, in which the sarcastic-but-not-too-sarcastic gent says,

Yeah, you’re not getting it back.

The “it” he’s referring to is the phone, which begs the question: Why would he have to give it back? Didn’t he—Oh, I get it—by customer, Amazon means somebody who has purchased goods before and not somebody who actually owns the device and can attest to it’s usefulness or features, beyond what the script told him.

Is all advertising disingenuous in a way? Of course. But this video feels particularly sleazy, which is saying something considering Amazon’s recent tactic of making life difficult for companies who refuse to play by their rules. Then again, they named their customer service “Mayday,” the international distress signal, which is quite the message to send about how they view their customers.

Maybe their tactics aren’t as stealthy as we all once thought.