Earlier today, Citigroup’s research department concluded through supply channel checks that Amazon is likely going to be launching its own smartphone during the fourth quarter of 2012. They believe it will run Texas Instrument’s OMAP 4 processor and it will be manufactured by Hon Hai’s TMS business group, the same company that makes Amazon’s Kindle.
Obviously, this is far from confirmed, but it’s not far-fetched, especially now that Amazon has entered the tablet market with the recently released Kindle Fire. And it has got us thinking.
What would we love to see from an Amazon smartphone?
Here’s five things we want in an Amazon Phone, or will that be a Kindle Phone.
As you might know, Amazon has completely undercut every tablet on the market save for the Nook Tablet which is a mere $50 more expensive. The Kindle Fire currently sits at $199, requires no contract and is host to a ton of services and features. But that price comes at a cost to Amazon and it actually loses money on every single Kindle Fire sold. Sort of.
It sells the device at a loss in the hopes of recouping money through its services which include places to purchase music, apps and more.
Today’s report claims that Amazon will pay somewhere between $150 to $170 for each phone produced. If Amazon uses the same strategy that it employed with the Kindle Fire, we could see an Amazon smartphone that undercuts the market by a long shot.
That would not only be intriguing to consumers but it would be pretty disruptive to the market as a whole.
And to gain traction, Amazon needs both of those things to happen.
This will be tough, since we don’t want to see Amazon cut corners on the company’s first phone, but with the retailing giant’s view of gadgets as the new shopping cart we’re hopeful that it can happen.
Swath of Carriers
Apple launching the iPhone 4S on three major U.S. carriers should be a lesson for Amazon. Consumers are loving the choice. And Apple is loving the sales numbers and piles of money that they are pulling in.
That’s not to say phones like the HTC Rezound or the HTC EVO 3D don’t sell. They do. But they just don’t have the same brand recognition, the same star power, the same draw as phones like the iPhone or a potential Amazon phone.
Amazon would be shooting itself in the foot if it launched a smartphone with an exclusive carrier. Instead, we hope to see it launch on AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile (if it’s still around). And hey, why not some regional carriers as well.
Give people what they want, which is choice, and the sky is the limit.
By fourth quarter 2012, Verizon will be close to finishing its 4G LTE roll out. AT&T will likely have an established 4G LTE network in place. And Sprint will have the 4G LTE ball rolling.
Throw in the fact that the next iPhone will almost assuredly have 4G LTE capabilities and you start to see why Amazon would be wise to develop a 4G LTE smartphone, if it is indeed developing one.
4G LTE blows away 3G in the speed department and we’re fairly certain that its biggest knock, the huge toll it takes on phones batteries, will be solved or at least mitigated by the end of next year.
Price plays a big part in this too.
Currently, flagship smartphones are expensive. Verizon is charging $300 with a new contract for its best models. If Amazon was to launch a super cheap 4G LTE phone with all of its services on board, services that would benefit greatly from LTE speeds, just think about how enticing it would be.
We already have sub $200 4G LTE phones but they are far from special and can’t offer the services that Amazon can.
The Kindle Fire was able to capitalize on a similar market and demand in the tablet world, why not do the same with a smartphone?
If you own a Kindle Fire or an Android device, you’re probably aware of Amazon’s Appstore, its version of the iOS App Store or Android Market. It launched in March of this year with a grand total of 3,800 applications, a number that has grown to just around 20,000 in the months since.
In comparison, Apple’s iOS App Store has more than 500,000 applications while the Android Market boasts over 300,000 applications. As you can see, Amazon has a lot of work to do if it intends on limiting its phone to its Appstore as it does with the Kindle Fire.
Luckily, if this timeline is correct, it has a year or so to create a robust Appstore experience and a viable competitor to Google and Apple’s app marketplaces.
Anything less would be disappointing.
Amazon Account Powered NFC
Lastly, we would really love to see an NFC powered Amazon Phone that would allow owners to pay at retailers using their Amazon account. Near field communication in the United States is still in its early stages (see: Google Wallet) but like 4G LTE, it will be more widespread by the time Q4 2012 rolls around.
This, again like 4G LTE, would make it a perfect space for Amazon to tap into with its phone.
Whether you like it or not, NFC is more than likely going to be the future of mobile payments and Amazon, being the retail giant that it is, can’t ignore it forever. The company has said to have researched the idea so we definitely know it’s on its radar.
So, those are five things that we’d love to see included with an Amazon Phone, should it ever get released.
What would you want?