Just how successful could the Amazon smartphone be?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| May 2, 2014


Amazon.com, an online retail website, is the world’s largest online retailer. Word on the street is if you want it, Amazon probably has it. You want a tablet? You can buy it at Amazon. Need a vacuum? Go to Amazon. What about a car? Yep, you can get that from Amazon. Aside from being an online superstore, though, Amazon is also pretty well-known for making its own brand of electronics, especially the Kindle e-Reader and Kindle Fire tablets. From the looks of it, it won’t be too long now before Amazon enters the ring with a similar product - their own smartphone.


The idea of an Amazon smartphone and what all it would entail has been thrown around for what seems like ages now. At one point there was even a rumor that Amazon would release a completely free smartphone (which, as nice as that might seem, wasn’t true). What we do know at this point when it comes to Amazon’s smartphone is that the device will focus on 3D technology and gesture-based navigation, and new leaks suggest that it will feature something called “Prime Data”, according to tech website BGR.


There aren’t a whole lot of details around Prime Data, but BGR goes on to explain that this is likely what will make Amazon’s smartphone stand out among a sea of other smartphones. Prime is already a big part of Amazon given that it’s the name of its exclusive membership that Amazon users can pay $99 to be a part of. This membership includes free 2-day shipping on many items, free TV shows and movies, and free e-book rentals. With a name like Prime Data, I assume that many of the same benefits that regular Amazon Prime users get will also be offered for free (or heavily discounted) to smartphone users as well, especially in regards to Amazon’s digital services.


BGR also mentions that the phone may be an AT&T exclusive, which raises a red flag in my head when it comes to making the phone a success. And no, none of that “But look at the iPhone! It’s a success and it was an AT&T exclusive for years!” As true as that might be, that was a different time. The iPhone was completely new and different and had the priviledge of being an exclusive. It was in the right place at the right time, and thus was able to garner so much success despite being offered through just one carrier. Anything that’s released now would have to drive a hard bargain to get to be that successful through just one carrier, even if that smartphone came from the mighty Amazon.


As for the phone itself, BGR cites sources that say the phone will be mid-to-high range when it comes to specs, and the alleged render provided with the report shows the phone looking pretty sleek as well. The phone is predicted to have a 4.7-inch display and 720p HD resolution, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera. The phone is also expected to run on a heavily customized version of Android, similar to the Kindle Fire series.


With such little details on what Prime Data really means, it’s hard to tell whether the service will be able to make the phone that successful or not. As I said, if it does turn out that the Amazon smartphone is an AT&T exclusive, I really can’t seeing it get that far. I can’t see any phone following a carrier exclusive these days to get very far. It just seems like it’s a little too late to play that game in the smartphone industry.


Readers, what are your thoughts on Amazon’s smartphone? Do you think that with a service like Prime Data that the phone could be that successful, even if it was under a carrier exclusive with AT&T? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Images via BGR, Wired

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