About 24 hours from now, Amazon is hosting a media event in Seattle, and if the rumors are true, they will be introducing their long-awaited, much anticipated smartphone. Reportedly called the “Fire Phone”, the new device has been the subject of leaks and speculation for some time. Amazon is taking the plunge into a highly competitive market controlled almost exclusively by Apple and Samsung. Previous attempts to enter the market have failed miserably (Nexus One, Blackberry anyone?) and Amazon is going to have to bring it’s A-game if it expects to succeed.
With just over a day to wait, there is still much speculation about the new phone, and questions aplenty. We’ll tackle some of them with what we know (or think we know).
Who is Fire Phone aiming for?
In short, the consumers. Amazon is seeking to close the gap between “Hey, I want that” and “Hey, I own that”. The new phone will reportedly put every single feature that they offer on this new phone, connecting people with music, movies, shopping, reading and pretty much anything else that you could possibly need or want to do in life.
By bundling it’s services under it’s well known Prime package and offering incentives to buyers, Amazon could very well take a flying leap into the world of smartphones and not fall flat on it’s face.
What kind of data plan are we talking about?
According to BGR (and let’s face it–these people know stuff about stuff), Amazon has an ace-in-the-hole…and it’s a new data plan called “Prime Data”. The Wall Street Journal reported today that AT&T will be the exclusive carrier for this new data plan, extending Amazon’s relationship with the cellular company that already provides wireless service to Kindle tablets and eReaders. AT&T is no stranger to the marketing genius–when the Apple iPhone was first introduced in 2007, the mega-carrier had an exclusive arrangement with Apple that last more than three years, and gave them a leg up against Verizon in the lucrative smartphone market.
You said “incentives”. What exactly does that mean?
Amazon is keeping mum on this one, but there are some rumors floating around. Among other things…
- AT&T has now been confirmed as the exclusive carrier for the new plan.
- Free access to it’s Prime-branded digital services.
- A new service that will compete with Spotify and iTunes Radio.
- A certain amount of free access to streaming movies, TV shows, music and other Amazon services over cellular data networks.
- A simple discount plan that will offer significant savings compared to typical smartphone data plans.
- A deal that will give users free data for a certain number of months after their initial purchases.
Again, until tomorrow morning none of this is actually confirmed other than AT&T being the exclusive carrier, but if the rumors are true, the new Prime Data plan could be a very convincing reason to give the Fire Phone a try.
Amazon is all about Kindle and Shopping, right?
Well, yes. But keep in mind that Amazon is the undisputed KING of both of those markets. For that reason alone, this new device (which will incorporate both of those features into it’s package) has the potential to take Apple and Samsung down a notch or two. Right out of the gate, Amazon has the power to sell to over 250 million customers without a middleman. These are customers who have used it’s service and know it’s reputation, so they are likely to be willing to at least listen to the retail giant when it starts talking.
What if, after all this hype, Amazon doesn’t introduce a new phone tomorrow?
That’s always a possibility, although given the amount of media frenzy that they have created over the past several months, I seriously doubt it. Amazon has a proven track record with their Kindle Fire and they are not going to screw this up. Stay tuned here throughout the rest of today and join us tomorrow morning for a live blogging session as the event unfolds.