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Everyone needs a smartphone. I'm not even talking about the consumer here. Smartphones have become so prevalent, and are continuing to grow in adoption across the world, that it's just an easy route to people who want to buy things. And let's be clear: Smartphones are gateways to digital retail. They're tools for you to buy things, just as much as they're tools to make calls, or get things done. Maybe even more so.

Apple wants you to buy into the iOS-based universe so you can buy things from their respective stores. The same goes for Google and Microsoft. These ecosystems exist, and the easiest way for you to access them, and for companies to make money off them, is with smartphones these days.

Right there. That's all you need when you're looking at a potential smartphone from Amazon. At face value, at least. And to be honest, that's about all Amazon needs at this point. The company has already been releasing tablets for this specific reason for years now, and their Kindle Fire mobile devices are immensely popular for the company.

They're heavily-skilled Android tablets, but they get their job done.

That job is to sell you Amazon things. Whether that means you're buying things from Amazon's website and having it shipped to you, or you're buying movies or games from Amazon's digital stores, you're doing exactly what they want you to do. You're proving that Amazon's devices exist to sell you things, or at least give you access to those things.

That's why, despite the fact that it's been a relatively common joke, a smartphone for Amazon just makes sense. At this point in time, it's basically overdue. That time may be coming to an end, though, if recent reports are any indicator. This week, we've already heard that the Amazon Phone will be announced in June (with 3D technology to boot), and now, earlier today, we've seen the first images of the reported device.

If there's ever been a time where it felt real, Amazon's first smartphone, this year would certainly be it. Granted, none of that means it's going to actually be released or even unveiled, but at least it's more real (kind of) than it was the year before.

This particular device isn't going to be a powerhouse, but it doesn't need to be. With a 4.7-inch 720p HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor under the hood and 2GB of RAM, it will obviously be a mid-range device. There'll reportedly be a 13-megapixel camera on the back, though, so there's that. And, if I had to guess, I'd say that the new Amazon smartphone will look like a smaller Kindle Fire tablet.

I think the only reason there might be a hang-up here, is the fact that Kindle Fire tablets are cheap, so why would you need a phone? That's just going to come down to personal preference. But, I know more than a few people who love the Amazon ecosystem enough that having a tablet and a phone wouldn't be that big of a stretch.

The Amazon-branded smartphone has been a long time coming, as far as I'm concerned. For whatever reason, Amazon is apparently deeming this year to be the year of the launch, so we're just going to have to wait and see how Amazon plans to sell it (this is easy...), and for how much.

Would you consider buying an Amazon smartphone? Are you invested in the ecosystem enough to warrant a purchase of a cheap(er) off-contract device that's devoted to that universe? Or is that something you'd ignore altogether? Let me know!


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