June 5, 2014
Amazon Could Reveal A New Phone On June 18
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Amazon didn't exactly announce that it was developing a new phone, but on Wednesday the online retail giant did start to tease that such an announcement could come on June 18. It began with Amazon's official Twitter page asking "Want an invite to our new device unveiling? #AmazonEvent."
The retailer also tweeted: "Join Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos for our launch event. Request an invite http://amzn.to/GetInvite #AmazonEvent"
On the website, consumers, analysts and journalists could sign up to obtain an invite to the June 18 event where the mystery product will be officially revealed. In a move that the company likely hoped would go viral, Amazon also released a video that gives a few hints as to what product might be arriving soon.
The video doesn't actually show a phone, but instead shows numerous people looking down and trying some unseen device. These users sway their heads and seem truly impressed by whatever the "device" could be.
While it likely will be the long-rumored handset that is revealed, it will be big indeed. As Slashgear's Nate Swanner reported, "Jeff Bezos typically headlines the Kindle device announcements, so this is likely another flagship handheld from Amazon. We can't say it’s a phone, but their tablet lineup isn't due for a refresh until the early fall. Given the broad announcement of the event, it seems Amazon wants to make a big splash with this one."
Mobile phone news site BGR however seemed pretty confident that Amazon will in fact reveal a phone, which Jacob Siegel reported is expected "to feature a 4.7-inch 720p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM and an innovative 3D software interface. The phone’s primary rear camera should come in at 13-megapixels with a front-facing camera for video calls, but four additional front-facing cameras will allow for the device’s 3D effects."
Bloomberg on Wednesday seemed to confirm that this will be a phone citing a person with knowledge of the matter. The news organization had reported in 2012 that Amazon was in fact developing a smartphone that would run on Google's Android operating system, while Chinese-based Foxconn would produce the handset.
Bloomberg's Adam Satariano also reported that introducing such a device into the market would certainly increase its rivalry with Apple. Already the two companies are going head-to-head with tablets and web services - notably entertainment.
Mobile remains a key component to that strategy.
"This is a play by Amazon to get a stake in the most ubiquitous device category there is," Jan Dawson, a technology-industry analyst who runs research and advisory firm Jackdaw, told Bloomberg.
According to research firm IDC the smartphone market grew 21 percent last year to $338.3 billion. Samsung had 31 percent market share for the Q1 of this year, while Apple maintained 15 percent of the market share. However, getting into the market could have costs - but as the saying goes, you need to spend money to make money.
"Amazon's play here isn't to make a ton of money off smartphone sales; it's to get people to spend more money with Amazon as a whole," added Dawson.
As for its social media strategy to tease the announcement, Amazon might have left people wanting more – but it also opened the door to snarky online comments.
Reaction to the video ranged from "Huh? What is Amazon up to? ... not sure I even want to know ..." to "Here comes Amazon's 3D phone...." and "Amazon customers discover their genitals for the first time."