Will Amazon be launching a smartphone device later this year? Leaked images and talks in mobile forums indicate that this might indeed be the case. We here highlight some features that the Amazon phone (if it indeed makes an appearance!) would probably boast of.
It’s all in the state of rumors and conjecture till date – but there have been telltale signs that Amazon is working on a smartphone device. The mobile market across the globe is dominated by Google and Apple to a large extent – making it rather tough for any new entrant being able to garner decent sales figures. However, Amazon has already hit the bull’s eye with the Kindle Fire, the Amazon Appstore (opened in 2011) is relatively popular too – and the company can find a way to grab a niche for its handset device. If an Amazon smartphone is indeed on its way, here are some features that would probably be present on it:
- Amazon Dash and Amazon Fresh – Several mobile app companies have already released barcode scanning applications – but Amazon Dash promises to be a cut above all of them. It is powered by reliable, high-strength wi-fi connectivity, and is likely to be one of the key features in Amazon’s handset. Couple that with Amazon Fresh – the same-day shopping resource – and the smartphone would be just the perfect tool for quick and easy grocery marketing. No more having to stand in long queues at shops…so let’s hope these two features are present!
- A new rival for Siri – The feedback on Siri for iPhone have been mixed, and Amazon would probably be turning on the pressure on Apple a bit more by launching an all-new digital virtual assistant on its smartphone. It is widely tipped to share quite a few features with Siri as well as Google Now. With Cortana also set to debut on Windows Phone, the race for the best mobile voice assistant is bound to hot up.
- Multiple price options – This would be an ideal strategy to get an initial toehold in the already crowded mobile markets. Amazon is, in all likelihood, looking at a two-pronged pricing policy. There would be a monthly payment plan for the phone – with all the mobile apps and other services that users might wish to have. Alternatively, people will also have the option of making a one-time down payment for the Amazon smartphone, and get a set of standard (although slightly limited) features. It might turn out to be a smart strategy to tackle the pricey iPhones.
- Two versions of the phone to be launched? – Apple’s strategy of simultaneously releasing iPhone 5S and the lower-end iPhone 5C might not have worked – but that does not mean that the idea is, in essence, a bad one. There’s every chance that Amazon would follow suit too, with a low-end, basic-feature phone (probably with a limited period free-contract), and a higher end device, with 4.7-inch screen and a sparkling 3D display. Offering more options almost always translates to better chances of success!
- Visual shopping option – This is one of the likeliest features on the Amazon smartphone, as per researchers, techies, and mobile app developers. The device will come with three-dimensional visual shopping aid, enabling shoppers to get a detailed 3D view of the items that they wish to purchase. The 3D rendering would be done on a real-time basis, so that people can get an idea about the quality as well as the need of anything that catches their fancy. If you like to become a smarter shopper, the Amazon phone might turn out to be your best buddy!
- Compatibility with Fire TV – While there is no room for doubting the quality and sophistication of Amazon’s Fire TV set-top box, its saleability over the long-run might be an issue. To tackle this factor, the company should make its smartphone have easy integration features with Fire TV. Users would be able to seamlessly transfer video content from their handsets to the set-top box. The integration can either be via voice commands, or with the help of a remote control.
- Large screen size – Apple has already announced that the iPhone 6 would have a larger screen than any of its predecessors – and Amazon would, of course, need to keep up with it. The efforts would surely be to create a smartphone with a 4.7-inch display (at least for the higher-end device, as already mentioned earlier) – available at a competitive price-level. An iPhone 6-lookalike at a significantly lower price – enough reason for the initial response to be positive enough!
- Better gaming options – If the Amazon smartphone indeed comes with complete integration with Fire TV, streaming video games on the handset would become easier than ever before. What’s more – the upcoming mobile device would probably have integration features with the Amazon Game Studio as well. The higher-end version is likely to have a 3D interface, which would make gaming on the device a whole lot of fun. Are mobile gamers listening?
- Full Fire OS functionality – There have been some talks about Amazon adopting the Windows Phone operating system, since Google Android would be a direct competitor. It does not appear likely though – and it would be a wiser decision on the part of Amazon to go with the well-reviewed Fire OS for its ‘rumored-to-release-soon’ smartphone. Mobile application development experts would surely find a way to fit in the default app icons on the Fire OS display on the screen size of the phone. A robust Android support would bolster the reliability factor of Amazon’s offering.
- Free instant video – Full members of Amazon Prime have to shell out an annual fee of $99, to access videos of their choice. Amazon is reportedly planning to bring this high-quality instant video service for free on its very first smartphone. As per rumors, the free video content would be available on Fire TV as well (given that the latter would be integrated with the phone). If this actually happens, it could well become the biggest USP of the Amazon phone.
- Additional Amazon service features – Video-streaming is not the only bonus feature that Amazon can bring on its smartphone. iPhone and Android app developers are expecting that the device would have the Amazon appstore as its default online app-destination (probably with direct download options from the Play Store as well). In direct competition with iTunes would be the Amazon MP3 store. Easy access to Prime Video and Kindle ebooks would rev up the attractions of the handset further.
- Sleek design features – Having a large screen is not the only thing that the in-house mobile developers at Amazon need to concentrate upon. In the past, most of Amazon’s products have scored high on the usability front – which has acted as a buffer for their rather plain (read: boring) appearances. This strategy won’t work with a smartphone though – since there are already plenty of visually appealing, affordable handsets in the market. It would be reasonable to expect that the Amazon phone would be a treat for the eyes too, apart from offering good value for money.
To add further value to its very first smartphone, Amazon is likely to integrate its much-appreciated Kindle Free Time Unlimited feature on the device as well. Even if all of these features are present in the phone, it won’t be easy to put up a decent fight to the Google and Apple clout in the worldwide mobile sector. Much would depend on how Amazon promotes and markets its product – and whether the initial word-of-mouth publicity is good enough.
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