Once again, Apple is feeling the heat from an unexpected quarter. Amazon, the company which made a soft entry in the hardware market with its Kindle has graduated to providing a sturdy tablet, Kindle Fire, at a price that made the product a huge hit. As per a Bloomberg report, Amazon, the online retail giant, is planning to enter smartphone market to vie for the Apple’s share in the market.
Unlike other major mobile manufacturer or would-be ones (read Facebook and like), Amazon is the only one that has a real chance of getting up there with Apple. Not only because of its strong hold in procurement and distribution of digital content, but also because of the price point on which it offers its hardware. The form factor of the devices offered by Amazon is also at par with Apple’s. This reminds me of how a friend who brought me my Kindle 2 from US explained seeing it, “It looks like a big iPod”.
Amazon has roped in a Chinese mobile phone maker, Foxconn International Holdings Ltd., to build the device for the company. It is so far a private project. Analysts have been speculating the launch of such device from Amazon’s stable. Mark Mahaney, an analyst Citigroup Inc., had speculated in November about Amazon’s plan to release a smartphone.
As per the survey conducted by Baird Equity Research, US consumers are more open to idea of a smartphone from Amazon than they are from Facebook. 42% of 875 participants in the Baird Equity Research’s latest U.S. consumer smartphone survey said that they are interested or very interested in a smartphone from Amazon, as against 29% of those who felt the same way for a smartphone from Facebook.
A robust digital content muscle and global distribution has placed Amazon in a position where it can easily sell its smartphones. The online retail giant is already selling smartphones by other manufacturers in hundreds of thousands if not in millions.
Seeing the strategy it has adopted to push its tablet, Kindle Fire, and eBook reader, Kindle, we can expect Amazon to introduce its smartphone at a price point which other competitor will find hard to match. And for Amazon, we know that content is its strength.
The real question is will it be able to build a sturdy phone, provide all the features of iPhone and other smartphones, which has spoiled the users, and yet keep the price low? Let’s wait for the release to answer this.
April 22, 2013, 5:55 am UTC
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