Rumors that Amazon is working on a smartphone have been making the rounds for at least as long as rumors about Amazon’s TV box. So a week after the Amazon Fire TV was launched, it’s not surprising that there’s a new report suggesting Amazon’s first smartphone is on the way.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is already testing the device and will release the smartphone in the second half of 2014.

Amazon phones
Amazon phones

Amazon already offers a line of tablets powered by Fire OS, the company’s custom version of Android. The Fire TV also runs a version of Fire OS, and there are over 200,000 apps available in the Amazon Appstore.

So Amazon already has many of the pieces to the puzzle. But the smartphone space is a bit more mature than the TV box or tablet spaces were when Amazon jumped into those markets… so Amazon is reportedly trying to come up with ways to make its smartphone stand apart.

For instance, there have been reports that the phone will use retina-tracking technology and a series of embedded cameras or sensors to track your eye movements and display a 3D user interface that looks a bit holographic.

Amazon doesn’t make a lot of money from hardware sales, and instead sells Kindle eReaders, Kindle Fire tablets, and Fire TV boxes at prices that are probably pretty close to what it costs to build the devices. They’re basically conduits to get you to buy apps, music, movies, and eBooks from Amazon and to sign up for Amazon Prime (which will make you a bit more likely to buy other products from Amazon thanks to the free 2-day shipping perk).

So it’s likely that Amazon’s smartphone won’t be particularly expensive, even if it does have top tier specs and unusual features like a 3D display. But what remains to be seen is whether Amazon will partner with wireless carriers to offer the phone at subsidized prices to customers who sign a 2-year contract, or if it’ll be sold as a carrier unlocked device the way Google Nexus phones are.

The Wall Street Journal reports Amazon will officially introduce the phone by the end of June and start shipping devices to customers by the end of the summer.

via 9to5Mac

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4 replies on “WSJ: Amazon’s first smartphone coming in 2014”

  1. I give Amazon a lot of credit for taking Android and making it their own. It was very interesting to see them start out with their AppStore before everything else, build up some apps then release an OS based on Android that locked people into the Amazon ecosystem. They are one of the few companies that has the ecosystem to make that possible and seems it is working out. Now they are expanding their OS to the TV and maybe phones.

    I wonder if this is all going according to Jeff Bezos’ plans.

  2. Along wih FireFoxFone, just in time to hammer the last nail in Mark Shutlleworth’s coffin.

    We’ve ALL been telling you for ages now, Shuttleworth, that, instead of spending all that time and money making up grandiose lies, and THEN spending all that TIME and money making up grandiose excuses to cover all those original works of art lies,

    With any real application of vigour, you will have “osborned” your company out of existence in three years.

    1. I don’t think they are out of time yet. If they can deliver on their promises of Ubuntu on every device and somehow make it perform well and have good battery life it will be an interesting device that does something that no other device does.

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