Five things we need to see from Amazon’s smartphone

Jun 16, 2014
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Five things we need to see from Amazon’s smartphone

As Amazon prepares to give us something new, we’ve been wondering just what we should be looking for from them. We’ve all but confirmed we’re getting a smartphone from Amazon, so what would get us away from our current model? Can Amazon coerce us into dropping iOS or Android for their ecosystem? If they do these five things, they have a chance!

Pricing

We’ll safely assume the new smartphone from Amazon will carry a surprisingly low price. Like their Kindle tablets, the new smartphone is likely going to be one we marvel at when considering the pricing scheme. If Amazon can deliver a very decent tablet for right around $250, they can probably do the same with a smartphone.

What remains to be seen is how they’ll get us wrapped up in their scheme. Will it be a Prime-only device? It could tie directly into Prime, much like their Kindle tablets do, but not be exclusive to the program. Whatever they end up doing, the price needs to be right for us to cannonball into Amazon’s ecosystem.

Amazon Event

Specs

From the looks of the leaked video last week, the Amazon phone will have some sort of amazing screen. We’ve heard rumblings of a 3D display, which would be unnecessarily neat. If the screen is all Amazon has, they’re falling well short.

We’re not saying the device needs a Snapdragon 805 or octa-core anything. We are saying that we’d like the device to make sense two years from now. If they give us a Snapdragon 400 or similar SoC, it’s going to fall on deaf ears. Amazon makes their money via the ecosystem, so they can absolutely pack in some heavier hardware and still keep the price right. At lest 2-3GB RAM and 32GB Memory would be nice, in addition to a quick SoC.

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Google

Amazon has been quietly dismissive of Google over the years. Though their platform is Android, it’s not a Google-approved version. As such, there are no official Android apps from the Play Store. We’d like that to change, even though it doesn't look as hough it will.

We don’t mind being tied into the Prime scheme, but we’d like some way to easily and officially load Play Store apps. Even if it were a secondary option, it would be smart of Amazon to make it easy for the average customer to load the apps their friends have.

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Modern form factor

Amazon has some great hardware, but the design is a touch bulky. Their Kindle tablets are definitely performers, but the form factor is clumsy. If Amazon is going to really compete, they’ll need to make this new phone of theirs sexy. As mobile devices get slim, having one that’s too big will turn people off.

As the year moves on, we’re looking for items from Apple and Google to shape those two OSs. The new iPhone is likely going to be a slim one, and the Nexus line is typically very modern. If Amazon is going to compete, they’ll need to have a sexy phone that makes us want it just by looking at it.

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Plans

Amazon is an island, often turning a cheek to the competition. They can go their own way, but if they don’t give us some built-in plan pricing with the phone, we’d likely not want it. Like they offer with other smartphones on their site, we’ll need to be able to purchase a plan at the time we get the device itself.

Amazon may be toying with such a scheme, too. We recently let you know about their method for charging us for monthly subscriptions, and this could translate on Wednesday. Even if Amazon were to offer a new tier of Prime membership that offset monthly plan pricing, it would still be an easier method than getting a phone, then visiting a carrier store to buy a plan.

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Conclusion

At the end of the day, we really need a reason to buy into Amazon. Shopping is great, and Prime members are spoiled with two-day shipping and streaming media already. Tablets may be part of our equation, but a smartphone is a different beast altogether. We consider those a closer part of our being than a tablet.

Amazon needs to give us cause to want to carry them in our pocket every day. If they can deliver on a nicely specced device that doesn’t break the bank, they’ve got our attention. If they can turn around and give us a nice plan with a good carrier, we’re likely thinking about getting one. If they allow users to get Google Apps easily, they’ve got a winner.


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