With the Kindle Fire, Amazon has proved that it is possible to compete with the iPad, at least in the budget tablet market. Will they try to take the crown from the iPhone’s head next with a so-called Kindle Phone? Yup, maybe!
According to AllThingsD, reporting Citigroup:
Based on our supply chain channel checks in Asia led by Kevin Chang, Citi’s Taipei-based hardware research analyst, we believe an Amazon Smartphone will be launched in 4Q12. Based on our supply chain check, we believe FIH is now jointly developing the phone with Amazon. However, we believe that Amazon will pay NRE (non-recurring engineering fees) to FIH but the device and multiple components will actually be manufactured by Hon Hai’s TMS business group (the same business group that makes Amazon’s E-reader and the 8.9” Amazon tablet). We believe the smartphone will adopt Texas Instrument’s OMAP 4 processor and is very likely to adopt QCOM’s dual mode 6-series standalone baseband given QCOM has been a long-time baseband supplier for Amazon’s E-reader.
Look, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say: bull. The Kindle Fire makes sense for Amazon because it is a way to easily put a portal in people’s hands that allows them to easily buy from the e-retailing giant’s huge library of digital content, especially Amazon’s Video and Kindle e-book services. But a phone? Not only would Amazon have to get into bed with carriers — a total headache — but smartphones aren’t great devices for watching video or reading. Plus, the competition is entrenched: Amazon can’t budge the iPhone, or even the likes of Samsung or HTC.
The reason the Kindle Fire was a revelation was because Amazon got in there early, releasing the first tablet since the iPad to be interesting on its own merits, not as a clone of a better device. They can’t do the same thing with a Kindle Phone. I doubt Amazon will be so stupid: they are a smart company, and if Amazon has proven anything, its that they don’t rush to market with new devices simply because everyone else is doing it. They aren’t a manufacturer primarily; they are a retailer. Any hardware they design must forward their retail operations significantly, or else, it’s pointless. A Kindle Phone just isn’t going to do that.