Keep it simple, Amazon

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: May 10, 2013

Amazon is one of those companies that seems to get just as much attention as Apple, as far as rumors go. We've been hearing about Amazon's plans to create a smartphone for a very long time now, and as you might expect it's a rumor that just refuses to die. No matter how many times it gets shot down, or simply ignored by Amazon, it persists to live another day. But that could be because it makes sense.

Earlier this week, reports started flowing once again that Amazon is currently working on their own smartphone. Actually, that the company is working on a pair of them, and that one could potentially include a 3D display. Again, this isn't the first time that we've heard Amazon is working on a smartphone, or even more than one, but this 3D-based rumor is new enough that it warrants some attention.

Just enough attention that a rumor deserves, mind you.

While the initial report comes from The Wall Street Journal, their usual source(s) for this type of thing are tapped, citing "people familiar with [Amazon's] plans." So, we have to use that grain of salt accordingly. But, for the sake of this article, let's all consider that Amazon is indeed building a smartphone of their own.

Let me just start by saying that if Amazon is indeed making a device with a 3D display, I really hope they aren't going the route of previous handsets with the same functionality, like HTC's EVO 3D. In the initial report, as our own Alex Wagner posted, it points out that Amazon is working on a display that actually use "retina-tracking technology" which would allow the screen to display images that seem to "float" over the display, like a hologram.

That does seem interesting enough, and I applaud Amazon for working on new things. That "retina-tracking technology" does sound like the sort of thing we were hearing the Samsung Galaxy S 4 would feature, doesn't it? It sounds like a great idea, but considering we seem to be in a constant battle with our smartphone batteries, I wouldn't foresee good things in that department with a screen like that.

The truth is, we have no idea what Amazon could be working on in the hardware department. I have no doubt at all that the company is trying to figure out ways to make their hardware stand out amongst the crowded mobile market, and that makes sense. However, a 3D display isn't the way to go, I don't think. That fad has come and gone, and I really hope it's dead in the water.

It should also be noted that Amazon doesn't necessarily need to stand out in the hardware department, at least not in that way. Not with gimmicks. All Amazon would need to do to get a smartphone off the ground is make it powerful enough to run their proprietary software without any kind of lag or issues, and they're heading in the right direction.

Because let's face it, if Amazon were to launch a smartphone, it wouldn't be about the phone so much, but more about the connected features, and the software itself. Amazon's connected cloud platform, and the services it offers in just about every digital category you could ask for, make the phone itself just a gateway. Just like the Kindle itself, or the Kindle Fire Android-based tablets, these are just devices to allow you access to Amazon's digital storefronts.

They are just tools. Tools for you to download Amazon's things.

With that in mind, Amazon's best strategy for entering the mobile market is keeping it simple, and just focusing on what they have to offer. It would also be a safe bet that their smartphone would follow the same pricing strategy as their Kindle Fire tablets: Cheap. Like with Google's and LG's Nexus 4, we see that a high-end smartphone with a cheap price tag, and sans a two-year contract, can be successful enough. I have no doubt that if Amazon were to launch their own smartphone, especially if it's running Android (and why wouldn't it?), it would be on the right path to success.

But what do you think? Should Amazon keep it simple, and make a high-end phone that doesn't focus on gimmicks like a 3D display? Or do you believe that would be the only way Amazon could make any waves in the smartphone ocean? Let me know what you think Amazon needs to do to have any kind of success in the smartphone market.