Amazon Is Building A Smartphone To Sell You MP3s

Senior Contributor

Hey, do you want a smartphone that will constantly try to sell you books, movies, and music while refusing to work with certain apps? Yes? Then Amazon has a great deal coming for you!

Not satisfied with making a tablet to sell you stuff, Amazon is now trying to figure out a way to get into your pocket with a smartphone. Along the way, it will likely learn that just because you can sell a tablet to Grandma doesn’t mean you can sell a smartphone to anyone else.

Here’s the essential problem: the Kindle Fire is a great tablet for your mom — it’s designed to be simple and easy to use for people who don’t “get” computers. This is because Amazon very much wants to sell them books. The problem is, Amazon has used Android to create a little walled garden where nobody else can play, and while that may work in tablets for now, it’s not going to work in smartphones.

Unlike rumors that Apple will be getting into the wearable computing/virginity protection market (hint: it isn’t), this actually has a lot of validity. Amazon has successfully moved a lot of tablets and created a decent rival to the iPad, in the sense that the Kindle Fire has meaningful market share. Amazon obviously believes the future lies in selling people its stuff via digital downloads. So having a smartphone makes sense, to a point. Amazon’s big advantage is that this thing will be dirt cheap. Just like the Kindle Fire was cheap for a tablet, the Amazonphone will probably be $100 or less.

But I don’t think this Kindle Match or whatever they’ll call it will be a hit. A cheap, reliable, easy to use Android tablet was a relative market rarity. You can get a cheap, reliable, easy to use Android phone in a box of cereal. Amazon’s going to have a much harder push to sell this phone than they think.

image courtesy Amazon

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