A mysterious image from Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Twitter account showing a yet-to-be identified device has set off a media firestorm. Has the next big thing in mobile technology arrived?
All the phone geeks out there probably already RSVP’d and circled June 18th on their calendars the moment they caught wind of Amazon’s tweet last week.
On June 4th at 1:25pm, @amazon posted the following image:
The accompanying message to that picture was:
“Join Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos for our launch event. Request an invite http://amzn.to/GetInvite #AmazonEvent”
While there hasn’t been any official confirmation of what exactly that device is, rumor has it that this mysterious thin, black device will be Amazon’s first foray into the smartphone market.
Part of the reason why the media is predicting that Amazon’s next big unveiling will be a mobile device is the fact that the Company has already successfully launched competitive products in the realm of eReaders, tablets, and various online services.
The smartphone market has yet to see any offerings from Amazon, so it only seems fitting that an Amazon mobile phone will be its latest mass-market gadget.
Further to that, industry analysts believe that with a large existing reach and customer base, this phone could very well compete with the likes of Apple’s iPhone.
Amazon has been tight-lipped on the details of the official announcement on June 18th…however, there’s been no shortage of industry analysts stoking the flames.
“This is a play by Amazon to get a stake in the most ubiquitous device category there is,” said Jan Dawson, a technology-industry analyst who runs research and advisory firm Jackdaw.
Apparently, there’s a leaked rendering of the phones actual design, according to VentureBeat:
VentureBeat states that the phone will incorporate the latest in mobile technology to unite real-world shopping with Amazon’s online marketplace.
An unnamed source with knowledge of the device told VentureBeat that the phone will have multiple 3D cameras and sensors built in — tracking the user’s head movements to create a dynamic 3D shopping experience.
How exactly that the cameras will work to a shopper’s advantage remains to be seen. But it appears that Amazon is continuing on the thread of creating new devices that drive traffic to its online sites.
Last month, Amazon released its free Dash device that allowed users to scan bar codes of expired or empty packages in their home, which would then pop these items into their AmazonFresh shopping list.
If a barcode weren’t handy, then the microphone with built-in voice recognition software would allow users to add items by simply saying the name of the products out loud.
In all likelihood, Amazon’s new phone will likely continue the tradition of selling its hardware for cheap (or free) with the intention of making money off content and products that can be purchased with said devices.
Its Kindle e-readers and tablets are some of the most affordable on the market, and they introduced a $99 TV streaming box in April called Fire TV to go head-to-head with Roku and AppleTV.
“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,” said Dawson.
However, Amazon has been skating on razor-thin profits over the last few years with its business model. And they don’t appear to be changing direction anytime soon.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been spending heavily on new projects lately. The Company’s Q1 expenses spiked 23%, and Q2 is expected to lead to an operating loss of a further $55 million to $455 million.
Having a smartphone will give Amazon yet another tool to bolster its reach into media services, but they’re facing some stiff competition.
The market is currently dominated by Samsung, who’s various products give them a 31% market share, following by Apple’s iPhones at 15%.
That being said, if loyal Amazon customers embrace the new phone and can lead to higher conversion rates for online product purchases, then Bezos’ big bet is going to pay off immensely.
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