Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s success in the tablet market has been well documented. Their Kindle Fire tablet now accounts for roughly half of the Android tablet market. Thus, Amazon is feeling emboldened in the consumer electronics marketplace, and with their experience in the mobile sector having been entirely positive, a move into the smartphone market seems entirely natural.
It has been rumored for some time that Amazon could release a smartphone at some point during 2014; this notion in fact came top of a survey of mobile insiders’ predictions for 2014. So what could we expect from a potential Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) smartphone? Let’s look at the best predictions and rumors available.
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Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), of course, doesn’t have any experience with manufacturing mobile phones, and little in the way of appropriate facilities. So they’re going to need to actively seek the involvement of an established mobile phone manufacturer. The most recent indication with regard to this is that Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC could be recruited to manufacture Amazon’s device.
Furthermore, it also seems likely that Amazon would use the Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354) (OTCMKTS:FXCOF) production facilities for their device, particularly given the dirt cheap nature of it (more on that later). Foxconn, a Chinese company, has a great deal of experience in manufacturing tech products for the likes of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) and Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758), and although they haven’t exactly got an unblemished reputation, they could nevertheless offer a good option for Amazon.
Kindle phone’s name
As the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) device hasn’t even been confirmed yet, no name has been forthcoming. It seems almost inevitable to me, though, that Amazon is going to use their established Kindle brand in some way. I would think that Kindle Phone would be a highly likely name for this product if and when it is released.
Voice search enginge
Amazon has already acquired a company which produces a natural voice search engine similar to that of Apple’s Siri, which had led many people to believe that a potential Amazon smartphone could incorporate the technology. While it is likely to be primed for its Kindle tablet, smartphones also benefit from this tech, and it should be considered a certainty for inclusion in a potential Kindle smartphone.
Reports on this matter have indicated that the screen size of an Amazon device would be around 4.7 inches. This would be a sensible decision, placing it at around the size of the older Galaxy and iPhone devices, but not being overly ambitious and opting for a 5 inch screen, as the new iPhone is rumoured to do.
This murmuring suggests that Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is likely to be going for the casual smartphone user who does not want to spend a fortune on a handset.
Amazon Kindle phone price
With all of the information seeping out about this possible Amazon product indicating that it will be a bargain basement product, analysts have set the possible price of a Kindle phone at around $150 (£90, AUS $140). It would seem to be an extremely risky strategy for Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) to attempt to produce a premium device from the get-go, particularly in the highly crowded smartphone marketplace. A budget smartphone from Amazon would also seem to fit in with its general Kindle strategy.
Windows phone link
An incident which has perhaps helped incite the Amazon Kindle Phone rumors also gives us a possible insight into what to expect from the final product. Two Windows Phone executives joined Amazon in recent months, which understandably led to a great deal of speculation that Amazon would manufacture and release a smartphone.
Firstly, Brandon Watson left the Windows Phone team to become Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s director of Kindle cross platform, then Robert Williams, previously Windows Phone’s senior director of business development, joined Amazon in the position of app store director. Although this doesn’t provide concrete proof of a forthcoming Amazon smartphone, it certainly seems significant that two individuals with mobile experience have been seemingly headhunted.
This really is rather speculative, as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) have yet to even confirm that they’re working on a smartphone, let alone to confirm its release date. It is reckoned now, though, by the majority of industry analysts that this could happen in 2014, so contemplating its release date is certainly worthwhile.
It seems to me that Q4 is an absolute certainty if Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) gets this device out next year. It just seems the common sense option, giving them the longest amount of time possible to tie up all the loose ends and get the product functioning adequately. It would also obviously allow them to target the Christmas market, and a bargain basement smartphone carrying the Kindle name could be a big seller in the festive season.
With Amazon highly likely to emphasise the Kindle name and possibly the properties associated with the Kindle, this could be an absolutely key area. The Kindle Phone could occupy a niche in the marketplace by offering some sort of e-reading capabilities akin to the original Kindle, and obviously battery life would be an important factor here. Thus, the longer the battery life the better, so Amazon will definitely want to get this aspect of the device as good as possible.
Kindle phone operating system
A Kindle Phone is almost certain to run on some variant of Android, as Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) have a fairly close relationship, and it would seem to be the obvious choice for the device. There will probably be new versions of Android available between now and the release of the Kindle Phone, so one of these could be utilized.