I hope Amazon's smartphone isn't completely forgettableEvan Selleck - Contributing Editor
Some things just feel inevitable. It doesn't matter how many times we may hear something get rumored, leaked and whatever else, either. Even if none of that happened, there are just some devices that feel like they're going to happen no matter what. Eventually. As we see more companies dip their toe into the smartphone market, some holdouts are just trolling the rest of us at this point because we all know they've got something coming. It's just going to happen. The question has never been if, but always when.
In just a few days, on June 18 to be exact, Amazon is set to show off something new. While it could very well be a new tablet, or even new eReaders (because you can't have too many of those, right?), the safest bet at this point is a phone. An Amazon-branded smartphone. Like I said, this is something that was always going to happen, we've all just been forced to wait for it while the company behind it went along and announced/released just about everything else instead.
Amazon's always been moving towards the smartphone path. There's a possibility that this announcement isn't geared towards a smartphone, sure, and that's fine. Even if they *don't* announce a new smartphone this month, that doesn't mean they aren't going to announce one at some point down the road. Because they will. The company's focus on releasing services has always made sure to include mobile devices, and I think that's always been in the vision to launch their own mobile device. And not just a tablet, either.
A tablet would probably suffice for many, but I people out there that would jump at the chance to have yet another device that's tapped directly into the Amazon services and products fuel line. Even if they already have tablets and readers, it wouldn't be an extra device for them if they had a phone that did all of the same things, simply because they're that embedded/in love with the Amazon ecosystem.
And Amazon knows this.
The final nail in the coffin for me was the launch of Prime Music. Sure, the service is available on a bunch of different devices, including Android and iOS, but for me this was just another reason, another service, that they could show off alongside the new phone they're set to announce. Just one more service that you get bundled with your Prime subscription, packaged nicely in this smartphone.
So why didn't they wait to show off Prime Music? That would have been a nice bonus, sure, but I think Amazon's putting the focus of their event on the phone itself. On the hardware, and the proprietary software that it will be running. It'll be Google's Android running the show, but as we've seen on Kindle Fire tablets in the past, Amazon's got no problem providing their own heavily customized interface. Amazon's going to have to make some changes to make it usable on a smartphone, so they're going to put the focus there, and on the hardware itself. Especially if those rumors about a face-tracking device pan out. They could devote a giant chunk of the announcement just on that.
The ultimate goal for Amazon, at least as far as I'm concerned, is to release a smartphone that people will actually want to buy. Motorola has already shown us that a mid-range device can be a hit on its own, but the price tag has to be correct, and there has to be some incentives to the potential buyer. (For the Moto X, it's the customization.) That Prime subscription is probably going to play a big part of the new device and features, so I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot about that. I just want Amazon to launch a device that isn't completely forgettable.
In just a few days I think the inevitable is finally going to happen and we'll have an Amazon smartphone on our doorstep (quite literally for the people who buy the new device immediately, if it's made available that quickly). So I want to hear what you think the new device will boast, what kind of features you'd like to see it have, and what it will need for you to even consider picking it up.