On June 18 it appears that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will introduce the company’s first smartphone — or smartphones, plural. The big question is: what will distinguish it/them from the pack of Android competitors?
Rumored for many months, the phone is supposed to have a 3D interface, which a video on Amazon’s site seems to tease. “That’s really awesome,” apparent users keep repeating. It’s doubtful that a novel UI will by itself be enough to make Amazon a serious smartphone competitor.
At one point there was a rumor that the phone would be free. However that was quickly quashed by Amazon itself.
The Amazon smartphone will probably be like Kindle’s little brother. It will undoubtedly require app downloads through the Amazon app store, which has a smaller selection than Google Play. It will also seek to leverage Amazon’s content as a differentiator. I suspect we’ll also see “with special offers” (homescreen ads) and the ability to pay more to get rid of them as with Kindle.
I’m sure the hardware will be nicely done. The 3D UI may also be “cool.” However the success or failure of the device will ultimately come down to its price.
If Amazon can bring the price of the phone (unlocked) in under $150 people will take a good look. If it comes in under $100 it will get a lot of serious attention and consideration. I don’t think Amazon will try to compete at the high end of the market though it will position the device as a premium handset.
It’s possible that we will see the debut of “Amazon Maps” on June 18 as well. But that’s raw speculation on my part.
Amazon “forked” the tablet market when it introduced original Kindle Fire, priced at $199. It quickly became the second best selling tablet after the iPad. More recently sales have stalled under competitive pressure from the superior Nexus 7, stepped up efforts from Samsung and a deluge of low-cost Android tablets.
Amazon essentially sells Kindle at cost and generates content revenue, much in the same way printer manufacturers sell hardware cheaply and then make money on ink. The company may pursue the same strategy with a smartphone; however the smaller screen may make it a less desirable content consumption device than Kindle.
- Amazon Getting Ready To “Fork” Market With Free Smartphone
- Amazon Developing Not One But Two Smartphones — WSJ
- Report: Amazon Releasing Smartphone Later This Year
- Prime Price Hike Hurts Amazon Brand Engagement
- Study: Nexus 7 Usage Flat, Kindle Up Following Discounts