Amazon’s Fire Phone announcement was commendable for the company’s first smartphone out of the gate, but there was one major problem at the phone’s unveiling: Amazon’s new device lacked Google Play Store support. This means, in short that Fire phone users aren’t able to download apps from Google Play or the iOS App Store, as is the case with the HTC One M8, LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2, and the iPhone 5s (the same phones Amazon wanted to rival). When you add the $199 with a two-year contract price tag to a phone that only uses a “forked” version of Android (dubbed Fire OS for some reason), the Amazon Fire phone has received its share of criticism (a reasonable share, we’d say).
Well, as it’s been said on the Web, reviews on the Amazon Fire phone may have placed cold water on the phone itself, but the fire’s still growing. Microsoft announced yesterday that the Amazon Fire phone will receive Skype integration, as is the case with all other high-end smartphones on the market currently.
According to Redmond’s Skype announcement post, the Amazon Fire phone will have something akin to a Skype widget that’ll notify users when they receive a text or audio or video call without needing to launch the Skype app: “Through a widget that is visible from Fire’s Carousel, users can easily see their chats and notifications at a glance, without having to launch the Skype app and open chats with a one-click action.”
What this means for Amazon Fire phone customers is that they can now continue to use one of their favorite apps to talk with family and friends. Microsoft’s committed to a cross-platform experience, and Skype is one of the most beloved apps of all time for most individuals (hard-core FaceTimers excepted).
For Amazon, at least, Microsoft’s announcement allows the company to brag about its latest smartphone while maintaining the interest of its customer base without the need of Google’s Play Store. One of the requirements with Google Play integration is that all Android smartphones must meet certain requirements as set forth by Google. Perhaps Amazon’s got some freedom in that it doesn’t have to cater to Google (although a few apps can’t replace the hundreds of thousands of apps in the Play Store).
Skype is but one of a trunkload of apps that Amazon’s Fire Phone will receive in the coming days and months. Amazon’s new “hot” competitor will see Amazing, eBay, Craigslist, TV Guide, Fandango, Rubik’s Cube, Kik, WhitePages, and others.
Now that Microsoft’s bringing Skype to the Amazon Fire Phone are you “warming up” to the idea of buying the Fire phone – or are you still pouring cold water over it? Do your thing in the comments.