Amazon to Unleash Its Own Smartphone?

8 Jul

It appears there’s going to be an Amazon smartphone after all.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Amazon has allegedly partnered with Foxconn, a China based electronics manufacturing company, to develop a mobile-phone device that will take on Apple’s iPhone as well as any existing Android smartphones on the market. To stray from infringement-related issues, the e-retailing giant reportedly acquired a myriad of wireless technology patents and made an effort to recruit Matt Gordon, the former senior director of acquisitions at Intellectual Ventures Management LLC. Bloomberg suggested that these preparations are aimed at allowing unrestrained innovation, which would give Amazon the necessary flexibility to create as unique a smartphone as possible.

As representatives from Amazon have yet to make any official statements, little can be confirmed regarding what specs will be available on the final product. Given what is currently known about the Amazon’s marketing habits as well as the available Kindle devices, however, we can reasonably expect the new smartphone to exhibit the following three features:

1. An inexpensive, consumer friendly price tag
If anything could be learned from the low prices of practically all the Kindle devices out there, it’s that Amazon cares more about strengthening its consumer base than about deriving profits from its hardware. Since Amazon will likely make up for any hardware operating losses with the online sales of digital media, the company will likely offer the smartphone at extremely affordable retail prices. Reuters US suggests that Amazon’s smartphone can range from $150 to $170 USD, roughly the cost it takes to make the phone.

2. Easy, if not exclusive, access to Kindle and Amazon App Stores
The strong sales of Kindle Fire and the other Kindle tablets have demonstrated not just the importance of Amazon’s established ecosystem, but also the degree to which consumers rely and feed on Amazon’s wide array of online services. There is little doubt, then, that the Seattle-based online company will take full advantage of the services it has in its grasp, and integrate them seamlessly into its smartphone.

3. A Customized and Improved Android Platform
Given Amazon does not really have in its DNA the ability to design its own software platform, we imagine that an Amazon smartphone would, similar to the Kindle Fire tablet, run on an Android based system. In order to differentiate its new product from all the existing Android devices out there, Amazon will probably customize and model the Android platform to its liking, and create its own unique interface in the process.

Verdict on the possible Amazon smartphone
If rumors turn out to be true, and an Amazon phone is in fact happening, the e-retailing company will need to devise as many innovative features as possible to grant itself the necessary edge against its rivals. The good news for Amazon is that with low prices and a large, pre- established consumer base, the smartphone is certain to be an attractive choice amongst many casual consumers. The bad news, however, is that Amazon is no Apple. It is not a traditional hardware-software company, and it lacks the necessary know-how to create an awe-inspiring, dominant hardware device that will completely captivate the market. Given that the company should be aware of its own strengths and weaknesses, it remains to be seen just what measures Amazon would take to join the ranks of Apple and Google in the smartphone market.

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