Apr 29, 2014

What does an Amazon smartphone need to succeed in an already crowded marketplace?

It seems that everyone and their brother has at some point decided to enter their own pony in the smartphone horserace - Ubuntu, Firefox, Samsung/Tizen, etc. - and most have met with limited success. There have been a steady stream of reports that Amazon will debut its own line of smartphone soon, and the only thing I’ve heard that is somewhat unique is that they will include 3D support. If memory serves, LG made a 3D smartphone a couple of years ago, and it hasn’t been heard from since. What does Amazon have to do that is unique in order to succeed in a marketplace that has proven to be a challenge for companies such as BlackBerry, Microsoft, and others?

If it matches the user experience of the Kindle Fire tablets or the Kindle ereaders then it should do quite well for Amazon. Of course we won't know for sure until it is released, but it's usually not a good idea to bet against Amazon.
Amazon has already demonstrated an ability to achieve some degree of success in the mobile market with the Kindle line of tablets. I personally did not think Kindles would be very successful, but Amazon proved me wrong. They also have a few arrows in their quiver that most competitors don’t. They are an established company with a huge user base, and they are willing to lose money in the short term in favor of the long game. Amazon also offers a huge library of books and, through Prime, a decent selection of movies and TV that they do not make available to other Android phone/tablet users.

There are also rumours floating around about Prime Data, which may be a sponsored data plan offered at low cost to consumers. I have yet to see anything definitive about it, but it seems certain that Amazon will use it to sweeten the deal for potential customers and set themselves apart from the competition. On top of that, as we have seen with the Kindle, Amazon knows how to offer a very good device at a relatively low price point, and I would expect them to do the same with any smartphone offering. The 3D feature is more likely to be a talking point to attract attention than a compelling selling point.
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