When the Amazon Fire Phone was announced in mid-2014, it was a pretty big deal because it was the first smartphone from mega-retailer Amazon. The device turned out to be a flop, though, and Amazon has been focused on its Fire tablets and TV devices since. Now a new report claims that Amazon may be getting back into the smartphone game.
Amazon is reportedly prepping a new line of Android smartphones known internally as “Ice”. That’s according to two sources speaking to Gadgets 360, who claim that Amazon is targeting emerging markets with the phones, with one source adding that at least one smartphone launch in India is planned for this year with a price around Rs 6,000 ($93 USD).
One of the Amazon Ice phones is said to feature a display between 5.2 and 5.5 inches, a Snapdragon 435 processor, a 13-megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a fingerprint reader. The phone reportedly runs Android 7.1.1 and, perhaps most interestingly, includes Google apps like Gmail and the Play Store. The phone does not currently have Amazon’s Alexa assistant, said the source, who added that the software isn’t finalized and so Alexa could be added before launch.
While Amazon’s previous Fire devices have been based on Android, there haven’t been any Google services on them. That means that users would need to download apps from the Amazon Appstore and use Amazon’s built-in browser and mail apps. The inclusion of Google apps on an Amazon device would be a big deal, especially because it would give users access to the Play Store and the millions of Android apps that it holds. That could help give this “Ice” phone a better chance at success than the Fire Phone.