So there has been all the talk of Amazon stepping up their game and there has been rumors in the air of them releasing a smartphone. Well, I think that is grand but I also think it will crash and burn..and here is why.
You Can’t Win by Riding the Back of Another OS
If Amazon releases a phone, it will most likely be a forked version of Android just like the tablet is. Which is where the problem begins. When you fork a OS it means you always have to wait for the code to be released before actually updating your own. This is why the Kindle Fire HD is running on Android 4.0 not 4.1 and definitely not 4.2. Now it probably does not matter to much since Amazon completely changed almost everything about the OS, but there is still that point…that at any give time your OS will always be running one major version behind the rest.
Ecosystem is Everything
Android’s claim to fame is that it is the ecosystem that works well with other ecosystems. So If you are a Amazon person you can pull in MP3s, Books, and hopefully Video onto any Android Phone. We see this done with the Droid DNA, and I feel this might start to become a trend. However, because Amazon is forked, they have no access to Google Apps…which is one of the perks for being in the OHA. In addtion you can’t even market it as an Android phone even thoug it runs Android Apps, so you now have to really market your App Store, to people who already have the same App in the Play Store. Anyway, all those Googleytes out there that need their Google apps like Search, GMail, Maps, and the like are out of luck. Oh plus, if you have moved content over to Google that also means no access to Play Store or Google Music, Drive, Currents…etc. Again this matters, because most of Google Apps are available for iOS and Android which account for over 80% of the smartphone market. With Amazon services being available as a simple app download you get the best of both worlds by just getting an Android or iOS phone. While you will miss out on services by moving to an Amazon phone. This aspect matters more on your primary device than on a tablet which is more of a secondary media consumption device.
The Field is Getting Serious about their Stuff
With Blackberry 10 on the horizon and Windows Phone 8 trying to make their mark, what can Amazon bring to the table as an innovative smartphone for users? Price? Sorry the Nexus 4 already did that. Services? By Using a forked version of Android it will be gimped from the start. Cloud Services? Well Amazon is chasing behind everyone else here as MS, Apple, and Google…have cemented a robust offering of cloud services both for entertainment and productivity. Amazon is only focusing on the entertainment side, which is great for Tablets, but you need both for SmartPhones.
In the end I think it will be great for competition, and in turn great for consumers as everyone will really have to start thinking outside the box. However, Amazon becoming a major player? I just don’t think it will happen. Now I could be wrong and Amazon takes a different approach to this maybe making an Amazon experience Android phone through HTC, like the Droid DNA, but even more Amazon’d out. There could be some sort of exclusive to it, like 5% off any Amazon prime purchase through some special Amazon app on the phone. That would be major. But hey I guess we will have to wait and see.