One of the few sectors where Amazon hasn’t been able to make its mark is the smartphone industry. The e-commerce juggernaut did attempt to three years ago. But, poor software and an overall lacking package didn’t let the venture soar. However, the company isn’t backing off just yet if a new report by Gadgets360 is believed to be true which states that Amazon is planning a return to the smartphone market with a range of budget phones under the “Ice” brand (for dismissing the “Fire”).
This time, around, instead of tussling with the big guns directly, Amazon is targeting the entry-level price bracket. Another attribute about the smartphone market they’ve realized is that it’s almost impossible to dethrone the existing players in the United States. The company will, instead, focus on emerging sectors such as India where it’s relatively easier to break in if you can just offer the most premier specifications for the buck.
Moreover, unlike the Fire phone, these new handsets will be powered by an unaltered version of Google’s Android Nougat (7.1.1) software with its services (GMS) such as Gmail, Google Play, and the Google Assistant. As per the sources, one of the smartphones being tested currently will come with a display size between 5.2-inch and 5.5-inch and will feature a 13-megapixel rear camera, 2 GB of RAM, and 16GB onboard storage. As you could tell from the hardware, the phone will be priced somewhere around Rs 6,000 (~$93), although the final price will be decided at the time of the launch.
Surprisingly, the source, who has had a brief time with the device, mentioned that Alexa, Amazon’s very own AI-powered virtual assistant, wasn’t present which is quite bewildering. Although considering the price range they are eyeing, my guess is that they want the phone to feel familiar and don’t want to overload with features users won’t use.
It’s quite obvious Amazon has realized that if they intend to lead the AI race, they will have to be present on the most personal gadget people use. Additionally, with their customer support and recent investments in countries like India, providing an impeccable experience at a drastically low price won’t be much of an issue for them either. We’ll surely see more of this from sources and Amazon itself in the coming days, so stay tuned for that.