Amazon Has A Smartphone Coming, Say People Who Have Seen It

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Amazon has a smartphone in the works and has been showing it to people who then told The Wall Street Journal about it. The plan is to announce in June and launch in September, according to those same people.

Amazon has reportedly been demonstrating the unreleased handset around San Francisco and Seattle. Apparently the distinguishing feature of Amazon’s phone is that it can display 3D images but does so in a way that doesn’t require special glasses.

The WSJ pointed out that Apple and Samsung make up 49% of the mobile market, and it would be hard for a new phone to get a foothold. Then it noted Motorola and BlackBerry used to reign supreme and are now marginal players at best. I think if anyone was trying to break into the mobile handset market, Amazon has a leg up since they have more brand recognition than virtually any other company. But if that’s all it takes, everyone would carry Facebook phones.

If Amazon makes a useful device, it’s entirely possible it could have success. We used to all have MySpace accounts and BlackBerry phones, then something new came along that people liked better, or at least used more. It could always happen again, but I don’t know if this is how to go about it—3D doesn’t seem to be catching on in TVs and I doubt it’s somehow better on a smaller screen.

Pricing and final specs on the phone are unclear , and the aforementioned sources pointed out that Amazon might change its mind about launch plans at any moment for a variety of reasons.

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It's been a busy year for Amazon! Last September they released the Kindle Fire and Fire HDX, then the Dash and Fire TV last week, and now word on the street is they’ve got a phone coming too? I get that they’re playing razors and blades, but I wonder how far a phone helps them advance this strategy, particularly one that offers 3-D.

We’ve heard this story before, although not from people who claim to have actually seen the phone, so perhaps something will actually come out of it this time. I’m curious how they’ll go about it, and what sort of carrier compromises they’ll have to make.

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Add Amazon to the roster of companies attempting to emulate, in part or en toto, Apple’s whole widget and/or self-contained ecosphere business model (e.g. Samsung, the new MS), as opposed to MS’s 1990s licensing/partnership model.

Although some companies need to be somewhat selective as to which parts of that model to adopt (whole widget or ecosphere component) and what products or services to add in order to enhance their core business model (e.g. Facebook), Amazon, and potentially MS, can pursue both complete ecosphere and, perhaps to a lesser extent, whole widget components of that model.

This appears to be the consensus tech success paradigm of the early 21st Century.

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