Tag: Amazon Fire

Mobile security to be restored on Amazon’s Fire tablets

The marketplace and technology giant is bringing encryption back after considerable consumer upset.

Amazon.com has now announced that it will be returning its encryption mobile security feature to its Fire tablets following complaints and upset from privacy advocates and customers that accused the massive online marketplace of quietly slipping the security option off the devices with its latest operating system release.

A spokesperson for the company promised that the feature would be returned to the OS in the spring.

Robin Handaly, spokesperson for Amazon.com, explained that “We will return the option for full-disk encryption with a Fire OS update coming this spring.” The decision to remove the encryption component of the Fire operating system’s mobile security fell into the spotlight quite suddenly this week. Amazon explained that the feature had been removed in one of its Fire OS versions that first started shipping in the fall of 2015 because there weren’t many customers who had used it in previous versions.

This mobile security feature scramble’s the device data so it is accessible only to someone who has entered a password.

Mobile Security RestoredThe encryption feature was built into previous versions of the Fire operating system and blocked access to the contents of the device to anyone who did not know the correct password. According to Bruce Schneier, a widely recognized cryptologist, Amazon’s choice to take down this encryption was “stupid.” Schneier was one of the large number of people and groups who were public about their criticism of Amazon’s removal of the encryption security and who publicly requested that the company bring it back.

Amazon isn’t the only one that has been caught up in struggles with regards to mobile device security. Apple has also been facing several legal battles with regards to whether or not they should be required to unlock iPhones involved in criminal cases, including the case involving Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters.

This week, Amazon.com joined many other large tech companies when it added its signature to a court brief that was created to encourage a federal judge would take Apple’s side and not require that company to write code that would break through the mobile security of the iPhone used by Farook.

Amazon Fire mobile phone may be discontinued

This could follow a string of engineer layoffs from the Lab126 research and development lab.

Amazon recently let dozens of its Lab126 engineers go from its research and development facility, located in San Francisco, and it now looks as though its mobile phone will be the next thing on the chopping block.

The announcement of the discontinuation of the Amazon Fire Phone has not yet been made official.

That said, considering the direction of their R&D, many have speculated that the company’s in-house consumer electronics efforts may be going the way of the dodo, as well. The mobile phone released by the company has been facing considerable struggles ever since it was first launched in 2014. The Wall Street Journal cited “people familiar with the matter” in a recent article in which it stated that the online marketplace had “dismissed dozens of engineers who worked on its Fire Phone.”

This makes it clear why there is considerable speculation involving the cancellation of that mobile phone.

Mobile Phone - Amazon FireThose are the first layoffs that Lab126 has experienced since it first opened its doors 11 years ago, said the WSJ report.

Even though the Amazon Fire Phone did receive some very positive reviews when it was first released in July 2014, it never managed to scoop up a very large portion of the smartphone marketplace. Its initial launch price was $449.00, though that price tag dropped after the first few months. The operating system was a type of branch of Android, and it did receive some criticism based on the proprietary mobile apps that it contained that were clearly focused on the Amazon experience.

Despite the fact that the focus of the mobile phone on linking itself to Amazon in several different ways through its proprietary apps was supposed to provide the device owner with a considerable advantage when shopping, it turned out to be a primary obstacle. People started to view the device as being meant for a “single-purpose”, which was to continually direct shoppers back to Amazon in order to buy both physical and digital products. This criticism was one of the primary barriers to acceptance by many consumers who might otherwise have considered buying it.