Come on Amazon, an ear scanner won't save the Fire Phone 2

Amazon's Fire Phone 2 needs a better USP than ear-unlocking
Amazon Fire Phone

After the colossal fail that was the Amazon Fire Phone, where I personally think our 2.5 star review was pretty lenient, I need something big to prick up my ears before I even consider returning to the Amazon realm for a look around.

Amazon started clearing stock of the phone a few weeks back by dropping the price down to £99 (about $150, AU$198) suggesting we may be about to see a second iteration. If it's on the cards, it's going to need some serious work to do well.

The latest patent suggests Amazon is working on a way to unlock your phone with your ear – a novel idea, but it's not enough. It likely won't be ready to reach the Fire Phone 2 but the feature sums up everything Amazon is doing wrong in the phone market.

Amazon Fire Phone

Amazon's Fire Phone was many things but it got a lot of the basics wrong, especially the design.

Focusing on features like this was one of the main reasons the Fire Phone failed. There was too much focus on pointless fluff. The likes of Firefly and Dynamic Perspective are interesting concepts but they're not the reason anyone would buy a phone.

Do you really want that kind of technology to take precedence over the design of your handset? Having those four cameras plastered in each corner restricted the design of the first phone and meant unsightly massive bezels to complement the four unnerving cameras staring at you.

With the new technology what if my ear isn't scanning properly? Fingerprint sensors started off as unresponsive, pointless features so head-scanning is bound to have a similar learning curve.

Amazon's first attempts at 'innovation' didn't light up our world, and based on that I don't want to be missing calls just because my lobe wasn't in the right position.

Amazon Fire Phone

Actually, when would you ever even need to unlock your phone for a phone call? No smartphone asks for your identity to answer calls at the moment so is it something we really need?

I can understand you might not want anyone being able to pick up your phone and answer but it's certainly not the number one problem we need sorting on smartphones right now.

Why isn't Amazon focusing its efforts on creating a gorgeous piece of design? Or making the best battery life ever seen on a phone? Or even just digging in and working harder on its own Fire OS?

I'm concerned that if Amazon opts to make a new Fire Phone it will focus attention on the weird and wonderful again. Those things are fine, it's what inspires innovation and gives us the brand new features we desire a few years down the line...but come on, Amazon, you need to nail the basics first.

I want the online retailer to head back to the drawing board with the Fire Phone 2. Don't throw in a bunch of new features and hope a good looking advert narrated by a smarmy celebrity will make it sell based on pure curiosity.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.