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Amazon is developing a smartphone

by Mark Tyson on 6 July 2012, 10:15

Tags: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Foxconn (TPE:2317)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabjbn

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Unnamed sources speaking to finance orientated news site Bloomberg claim that Amazon is working closely with Foxconn to bring a new smartphone to the market. The report also says Amazon has wisely hired patent acquisition specialists, so when it raises its head in the smartphone market it won’t be promptly chopped off by litigation from tech rivals.

The new Amazon smartphone will run a version of the Android mobile OS, likely to be heavily customised to support the Amazon cloud. The company used a similar technique in producing and marketing the popular Kindle Fire tablet in the US. The Kindle Fire is the biggest selling Android tablet in the USA.

Amazon has recently hired Matt Gordon who was previously the Senior Director of Acquisitions at Intellectual Ventures, a company specialising in inventions, patents, IP management and licensing. It seems like any industry in which Apple operates requires significant legal/patent investment in order to be able to do anything. (That could be because Apple software and hardware design ‘inspire’ a lot of other gadgets).

Demand for smart connected device related patents is very high. Google just spent $12.5 billion on Motorola Mobility and thousands of patents and Intel just bought patents from wireless specialist InterDigital for £375 million. Amazon were said to have been a rival interest in the InterDigital deal.

We ran a similar Amazon Smartphone story in November last year based upon a Citigroup analyst report. That report estimated an Amazon smartphone launch in Q4 2012. The new report from Bloomberg has put more meat on the bones of that news and the Amazon smartphone design and development should be pretty near its completion by now.



HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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Great - just what we need - more of amazon's android that isn't android. If you are going to pull stunts like this Amazon at least keep the API consistent with android proper (you can always have a custom one alongside the standard).
'Google just spent $12.5 million on Motorola Mobility… '

Crikey that was cheap.
:P
I don't like this at all, and can't see it being a success either. However it will sure be a good spec phone and sold at cost price, so those with little knowledge and reddies might just jump on the smartphone wagon by acquiring one of these.

My biggest concern… will Samsung follow suit…. all phone manufacturers must be worried with what Google are going to do with Motorola and have to differentiate themselves so they can stand out from the crowd.
saltyzip
I don't like this at all, and can't see it being a success either. However it will sure be a good spec phone and sold at cost price, so those with little knowledge and reddies might just jump on the smartphone wagon by acquiring one of these.
I think it'll sell well in the US - over here in Europe I'm not so sure. And as for the Far East, apart from perhaps China I can't see it. I'm going to argue that the US isn't so brand aware as we are.
saltyzip
My biggest concern… will Samsung follow suit…. all phone manufacturers must be worried with what Google are going to do with Motorola and have to differentiate themselves so they can stand out from the crowd.
I'm sure that the situation with MoMo is worrying the other Android partners. That said, I'm equally sure that Google has had a quiet word with them about how MoMo won't necessarily be a special case wrt OS access etc. Let's be honest, I'm sure that Google head honcho's realise that annoying Samsung - their biggest platform supplier - is not a wise move.

Will we see a Samsung-butchered version of Android in the same way that Amazon have? Definitely not, since it's plan with a lot of potential drawbacks for precious little gain. Amazon got away with it on Kindle Fire because the KF was CHEAP, but that sales USP won't necessarily work with phones - because there's already a lot of budget phones with full Android on them - e.g. Galaxy Mini 2 etc. Wide compatibility is a much easier “sell”.
I'd love to see this combined with transparent OLED technology, so you can have a normal, bright smartphone screen overlaying a Kindle e-Ink screen, allowing you to have a two in one device to preserve battery power