Yes, friends and neighbors, boys and girls, guys and gals, Amazon wants to get in on the smartphone action, just as it got into the tablet action with Kindle Fire. Why? Because Amazon’s CEO wants to be the next Steve Jobs.
Who Needs Another Phone?
The rumor mill has churned out story after story about Amazon’s upcoming smartphone. Here’s what they say: It’s 3D. It’s got cameras. It’s free.
The problem is, an Amazon smartphone– regardless of what is bolted on to it– won’t succeed in today’s smartphone market, and most likely won’t be as successful as the Kindle Fire line of tablets. Why not?
With Google’s Android owning about 80-percent of the smartphone marketshare, and Apple owning a similar percentage of the industry’s profits, what chance does an Amazon smartphone have? Unless Amazon pays you to use it. Now that’s thinking different. cd
The answer is ‘none.’ Not even a qualified none. Other than gimmicks, these days Amazon doesn’t have anything substantial up its sleeves.
The Kindle Fire tablet, based upon a fork of Android, is so popular that Amazon refuses to divulge how many have been sold to date. Only Apple announces actual tablet sales every quarter. What is Amazon afraid of?
Even worse for Amazon, is the company’s U.S. centric business. In the U.S., smartphones are sold, for the most part, on multi-year contracts which lower the barrier to entry (some smartphones are free; even the iPhone 5s can be had for as little as $100 on contract).
That means that even if an Amazon smartphone came with 3D, multiple cameras with voice and facial recognition, artificial intelligence, free movies and music, and could run iOS apps, it wouldn’t sell in big numbers until current smartphone users ended their carrier contracts.
That won’t happen.
For mobile and desktop devices, Amazon sells a lot of books, TV shows, movies, and music. But mostly books. The company has a monopoly on selling books online. The idea behind the Kindle Fire was to create an inexpensive way to lock customers to Amazon media (after all, Google and Apple sell plenty of the same media on their respective mobile devices).
As a company, Amazon has been treated to a free ride for years by Wall Street analysts and technology pundits. The emperor no longer has enough clothing to cover the bare spots. Profits are negligible. Growth is slowing. Forays into sales of technology gadgets can only be considered disappointing if the company refuses to say how many have been sold.
Who wants to own an Amazon smartphone? 3D. Multiple cameras. A forked version of Android. A high resolution magical display. Free music, free TV shows, free photo and movie storage, free movies. That’s about the only way Amazon can compete with Google’s Android or Apple’s iPhone.