Amazon Jumps into the Phone Game


Fire is good, yes? Fire is our friend, yes?

There are a lot of articles that have been written about the Amazon Fire phone that was unveiled today. So, let’s not bore you by repeating the same story you have read over and over again.

Hi, I’m Amy and I can’t see that you are not wearing pants.

You know the cost. You know about its 3D Dynamic Display. You know all about Mayday and the cute redhead, Amy you may hope will pop up on your screen.

“This is the next big battleground in the ecosystem war,” said Ben Schachter, an analyst with Macquarie to the New York Times in regards to these features. “Amazon is not going to turn the tide decisively in its favor with this, but just needs to establish a beachhead.”

Admittedly, it has some nice features but it still remains to be seen whether or not Amazon can make a cell phone that, you know, actually makes phone calls.

So far, Apple and Google have not fared very well in this regard either but it does not matter. They are the captains of their industries and have the market cornered, yes?

Not so fast, big guys.

It is possible to argue that Amazon has had lukewarm success in the tablet and set-top box markets, although sales numbers are hard to find. They were late comers to the game and neither technologies require repeat purchases.

Most people who were interested in set-top boxes likely either had an Apple TV or Roku box. There is no need for redundancy where the Amazon Fire TV is concerned. (Later, I will argue that the Sony PlayStation TV will be a different story.)

However people replace their cell phones often and restructured cell phone plans (i.e. paid cancelation fees, built-in phone charges, etc.) will likely increase the frequency with which people upgrade their phones.

That opens up more opportunities for Amazon to steal away customers from iOS and Android users but not Windows. Microsofters gonna Microsoft.

Amazon has a lot going for it. Fire OS is Android based and 75 percent of the Android apps tested worked right out of the box. The company has a vast catalog of digital media, unlimited cloud storage, countless account holders, a payment gateway, Prime subscribers, and just about any product imaginable to create a formidable app store. Amazon also has a solid infrastructure in place with plenty of the capitol, technology, staff, and wherewithal to jump right into the game.

Android developers did the hard lifting. Amazon just needed to develop a reasonable phone at a reasonable price. The Fire has all the glitz and glamor of “the next big thing” and, while Apple and Samsung are busy mudslinging, Amazon can step right in and woo their customers.

AT&T and Amazon are already offering an incentive to sweeten the deal. Qualifying pre-orders come with a free year of Amazon Prime and 1,000 Amazon Coins. So, once you subtract the cost of Prime ($99) and the Coins ($10) from the Fire ($199), the phone only costs $89. For comparison, a 32GB iPhone 5S costs $299 to new or upgrade-eligible customers. Budget shoppers will certainly appreciate the bang for the buck.

“Fire Phone puts everything you love about Amazon in the palm of your hand,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO.

Amazon’s ultimate goal, though, is to lure customers into spending more money on their products by effectively connecting the end user to Amazon’s online store through tools like Firefly. Let’s not mince words here. Business is business and this phone is a means to an end Bezos hopes will be incredibly lucrative.

The Amazon Fire is set to be released on July 25, 2014 and the phone can be purchased directly from Amazon.

Marcello C. De Feo

Founder and co-ownerr at Untied Magazine
Marcello De Feo started blogging in 2002 as a way to promote his band and stay in touch with friends back east when he lived in Colorado. Over the years, he has owned and run many blogs, the most notable of which was the now defunct FlyersFaithful.com. He currently runs PattisonAve.com, UntiedMag.com and Gearadelphia.com.