We've been getting rumors about a possible Amazon smartphone almost since they launched their original $200 Kindle Fire tablet back in 2011. It seems everyone thought that it would be inevitable, and it looks like they may have been right. The Amazon smartphone was supposed to originally launch in Q2 of this year, but it may be delayed to the 3rd quarter because of manufacturing issues. Foxconn International Holdings (FIH) says things aren't going so smoothly:
The production of Amazon's much-fanfared smartphone is still under its engineering verification test (EVT) period due to issues related to its mobile platform, the sources indicated, adding that the development of the smartphone is being handled by FIH's subsidiary Ensky Tech, which has been responsible for the production of Amazon's e-book readers and tablets.
The original roadmap of the Amazon smartphone said they were supposed to complete the EVT test in the first quarter, and then begin volume production a quarter later. However, based on the current production schedule, it looks like they can't begin the mass production of the device in June.
Either way, it seems the Amazon smartphone's arrival is inevitable. But the real question is how successful is it going to be, and does Amazon really need its own smartphone? A tablet makes sense for them because it can be used as an e-reader to read books, watch movies and shows, listen to music, and even buy other stuff from their store. A tablet is a perfect buying device.
But what about the smartphone? Because of its smaller size, I think people do a lot less of all of that on a smartphone. The only thing they might do more than on a tablet is listening to music, but I don't think Amazon can make a lot of money on that. Plus, all of their content is restricted to the regions where they have licensed that content, or where they can ship their other products. Considering Amazon's strategy of making money on content, rather than on hardware, it might be hard for them to be successful with a very cheap smartphone.