Reports indicate that Amazon is planning on re-introducing its own brand of smartphones after having exited the niche in 2015 when its Fire range of smartphones were killed off after they flopped. Sources say that Amazon’s new range of smartphones will be tentatively known as ‘Ice’ though it has not been confirmed whether that will be the name used once the smartphones are formally launched. According to sources, Amazon is planning on releasing at the minimum one Ice smartphone in the course of this year.
Unlike in the previous attempt when the Fire smartphones were aimed at markets in the United States and other developed countries, the Ice range of smartphones will be sold in emerging markets such as India. The upcoming Amazon smartphones will be running on the latest Android operating system and will feature Google Mobile Services. This will be a break from the past as Google Mobile services such as Google Play and Gmail were not offered. Even now with its Android tablets, Google apps are not offered.
One of the smartphone devices that is being tested possesses a display that measures between 5.2 inches and 5.5 inches. Other features include internal storage of 16GB, RAM of 2GB and a rear camera of 13 megapixels. The Amazon phone will also have a fingerprint scanner located at the back and will be equipped with the Snapdragon 435 processor. The version of the Android operating system will be 7.1.1. Tentatively the smartphone will be priced at $93. Though the Amazon phone will have the artificial intelligence assistant developed by Google, it will not have Alexa, the artificial intelligence assistant developed by Amazon.
One of the reasons that the previous Amazon smartphones flopped is because there was a dearth of apps as there was no access to Google Play despite the fact that the operating system was Android. Embracing Google Play therefore helps in the sense that the limitation that was previously there is eliminated while also having access to Amazon’s app store – an added bonus.
Another reason Amazon is likely to see better results this time round is the fact that it has learnt from its mistakes. The current tablet offering from the online retail giant is a testament to that fact. While Amazon previously used to sell premium tablets it has now turned to the market segment where it gets most value and where it has a competitive edge – this is the low-end market, the same market segment its new smartphones will be eyeing.