Date
11 December 2017
Amazon is coming late to the smartphone party, but if the project is successful, the rewards could be huge. Photo: Bloomberg
Amazon is coming late to the smartphone party, but if the project is successful, the rewards could be huge. Photo: Bloomberg

Smartphone may be the missing puzzle piece in Amazon

Rumors are swirling that US e-commerce giant Amazon will unveil its very first smartphone on Wednesday, and that it will be loaded with sophisticated functions such as motion sensors and a 3D interface.

It seems Amazon is coming late to the party, but if the project is successful, the rewards could be huge.

In the past few years, the company has opened multiple warfronts. It has invested a lot in building warehouses all over the United States to improve its delivery time. It has launched tablets mainly for reading and buying on-line entertainment. But smartphone, where people are spending more time to surf the internet and shop online, is an area where Amazon has nothing to show.

If there is an Amazon handset that runs on its own operating system (perhaps something related to that of its Kindle tablet), more customers may visit Amazon to shop, read e-books, listen to music and watch videos. 

Amazon Prime membership has been a huge success. But its potential could be further unleashed if the company ties it up with its smartphone offering.

Dubbed as the best deal in the tech world by some commentators, Amazon Prime membership currently offers free two-day shipping, streaming movies and TV shows, as well as access to the Kindle e-book lending library, for just US$99 a year.

Amazon’s own survey shows that Prime members spend US$538 per year on average, 68 percent more than other customers.

A custom-designed Amazon handset improves access to the company’s hot-selling items—apps would be another plus.

The Amazon App store now has over 240,000 apps, a number that has tripled from last year. These apps are available in nearly 200 countries.

The top e-vendor, of course, has the advantage of owning a platform that can directly sell its own handsets to 250 million online customers.

But consider this: Google, considered as the world’s smartest technology firm, had trouble running the handset business, and decided to sell Motorola’s handset-making operation to Lenovo, despite the fact that it invented the Android operating system.

Can Amazon easily get it right if it chooses to embark on a similar project?

– Contact the writer at [email protected]

CG

EJ Insight writer

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