Amazon smartphone

Citing anonymous industry sources, The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon's first smartphone, which is scheduled to be officially unveiled in an event in Seattle tomorrow, will be exclusive to AT&T.

Amazon already sells its cellular versions of Kindle tablets on AT&T, so a continued partnership with the carrier for its first smartphone does not seem too unlikely. Earlier rumors regarding the smartphone also mentioned an exclusive deal with AT&T along with an Prime Data service, which sees businesses like Amazon picking up the tab for any streaming content that is directed from its servers.

Amazon's smartphone is said to feature four front-facing cameras that provide a 3D user interface without the use of glasses. In addition, the device is said to feature a 13 MP rear camera, 2 GB RAM, a 4.7-inch 720p display and a Snapdragon CPU. On the software side of things, the smartphone is rumored to run a customized version of Amazon's Fire OS

We should have more concrete information for you once Amazon officially announces the smartphone tomorrow. Until then, check out a render of the device, read about the 3D technology that is being used on the smartphone and see the video Amazon has put together for the launch event.

Source: The Wall Street Journal; Via: The Verge

 

Reader comments

Amazon smartphone reportedly exclusive to AT&T

112 Comments

having taps on the control of data service its customers receive seems ok smart. That's what they've been doing with their tablets. its possible it's working there, so it would work with a phone too.

Exclusives are the stupidest things now a days, it's what ruined the Moto X marketing and sales. Even apple came to their senses to release their phone on all carriers. Wonder how ATT does it? You want to sell a lot of your product? Well don't, just let us sell it and only get a few percent in the market instead of reaching out to the whole market for more profitable sales.

They put all their money into devices and not back into their network, that is how they do it. Does make you wonder though if there would even be an android if all the carriers had the IPhone from day one, would any other OS had the space to squeeze in. Hopefully only the initial release will be on ATT.

I agree, I have said many times that the iPhone exclusivity with AT&T played a huge role in Androids success.
If you recall during that time all the other networks, manufacturers and Google were trying to make the iPhone killer....it took a while but mission accomplished.

You are probably correct. I wanted an iPhone badly when it came out but didn't want to get raked over the coals by AT&T and decided to hold off. A few years later I went to Android and didn't look back.

Actually you're wrong. Now with the emergence of AT&T next and the consumer passing the cost of the device AT&T has more laid capital to dunno into the network which they've been working hard on the past few years.

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Everyone hates exclusives. The bigger question here is why do it? There were obvious reasons why phones like the iPhone and Moto X were initially exclusive... Even if it wasn't the best play in the long run.

So back to Amazon, an exclusivity deal entails a big payoff to Amazon, but you would think if someone besides Google could sell a device at cost or self subsidize it then it'd be Amazon... So either it's pretty expensive (I imagine the BoM is at least as high as a Nexus 5) or they don't have a ton of confidence in it.

Not a good sign either way imo...

It might make sense to test the waters. It is easier for a fairly new comer to only have to supply and support one carrier. If the phone is popular then the other carriers will pick it up. Exclusives don't work out when the product isn't desirable. HTC and LG started with exclusives and were able to get their flagships on all carriers because they were popular enough. iPhone did the same thing. Windows Phone on the other hand cannot as no one buys them, especially the high end models.

Also its a supply and demand issue... No one company and would want to afford to drop 4 million phones on 3 carriers.. It just makes no sense. Start with AT&T then launch on other carriers.

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How do you know it doesn't work? Are you an executive who has inside financial information to share? If it doesn't work, there wouldn't be exclusives. Maybe what doesn't work are people who think they know everything.

It's a losing strategy in the long run, there's overwhelming evidence to that, but it's also necessary in the short term sometimes, as evidenced by the fact that companies big and small keep going for it. People just like to ignore the logistics of a launch like this.

Yeah. Go back and look at iPhone sales before and after the att exclusive. Then punch yourself in the face and apologize.
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It did for the iphone, first 4 iphones were exclusive to att. If this is the next iphone, we might see people switching. If anyone can take on apple, it is amazon. Let the duopoly fall!

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It worked for the iPhone because the iPhone popularized consumer smartphones to the extent that you may as well say it created the entire market. There won't be another example of something like that until there's a major shift in personal technology.

Also, the entire wireless market was wildly different in 2007 than it is today. Comparisons barely even apply at this point.

Well said ... Can't believe they are people reading this site supporting useless carriers and exclusives.

And it's not like Apple even *wanted* to release exclusively with AT&T. I believe it was just part of the deal that got AT&T to accept Apple's "Fuck you guys, you don't get to lay a finger on the software and your logo's going nowhere on the hardware" requirement, which is probably my single favorite thing that Apple's ever done.

Verizon had already turned it down too, so signing an exclusive only meant passing on Tmo (they wouldn't have built a CDMA model just for Sprint right off the bat, only Palm is that dumb). The length of the exclusive was probably dictated by the other conditions your describe, as well as getting them to play ball with visual voice-mail etc. Apple probably regrets the length of the exclusive deal but it was their only play.

Likewise for Moto, AT&T probably paid them a big fat check for the exclusivity which might be the only thing that made Moto Maker a reality... Didn't work out in the long run, but part of the deal probably meant AT&T was on the hook for buying a large amount of units up front, which Moto might've needed at the time. These companies don't always dive into a new project with the utmost confidence in it or even the capital to see it thru, it's a fickle and fast moving market.

I'm not making excuses why exclusive deals are good, just saying at times they're necessary. It's usually not a good sign tho, specially for someone like Amazon.

Exclusivity should be outlawed. It probably hurt Moto X sales when MotoMaker was exclusive to one carrier for the first few months. How does Amazon expect to reach a majority of potential buyers by limiting where the phone is sold? I hope their phone falls flat on its four-camera face.

It might have hurt Moto sales, at the same time Moto Maker might've not happened at all if they didn't have the upfront payday and X number of guaranteed units sold from AT&T. Unless you're a Moto bean counter you really can't know for sure.

Probably only if sales go well in the US first. Different rules and regulations in the UK and EU than the US. Regulations in the US is a four letter word

You think it is up to the manufacturer to decide who sells their device? If you owned a cell phone service provider, would you let manufacturers tell you what phones you are going to sell and support? No. You are not going to waste shelf space and support training on devices that do not sell. Their are other reasons for exclusives as well. The other carriers have proprietary networks and this is Amazon's first phone. Maybe they want to start small. AT&T reaches a large audience and their phones should be compatible with TMobile as well.

On one end, it worked for iPhone but on the other not too many people look to jump ship for a specific phone.

But we shall see.

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Even though the iPhone was exclusive to ATT for like 2 years, ATT paid out the nose for each device to apple for it as well.

They only paid full retail which you know was passed on to the consumer in the firm of higher service rates

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It's Amazon. It's more than likely locked down to the Amazon ecosystem. I'll pass. Who else but AT&T to sell useless crap to the unsuspecting populace - think Facebook phone.

[Not referring to ALL AT&T customers here... AT&T just seems to have more than it's share of "Oooo looka, da prewty lights" kind of people.].

If Amazon released prime Videos for all android devices they would bank a lot of money.

I don't think it would even hurt their own ecosystem now that amazon has established products that some people like. I don't think people would buy their tablets just to get prime mobile, so I wonder why they don't do it.

I hope it's because of licensing restrictions, otherwise they're being short sighted. Maybe if this phone flops they'll re evaluate the importance of their hardware division.

Sounds like the 1st gen iPhone saga all over again....

°Sony XPERIA Z2 white
°LG Optimus G Pro white
°LG Optimus L70 black

T-Mobile only moved their event since the press was complaining about having to be at two different places on the same day. They've already said that it is unrelated to Amazon's announcement.

"When big AT&T and bigger Amazon.com get together, the industry feels a whole lot smaller." — T-Mobile CEO John Legere

I was ready for them to take my money tomorrow. If it is exclusively for at&t, I am out of luck =/

As others have mentioned though, if it is sold on amazon wouldn't it have to work on t-mobile b.c it would be a GSM phone? Doesn't this only effect if you want to by the phone on contract or in store?

It depends on the radios in the phone if it will be compatible with T-Mobile. If it didn't have the correct ones, you can still use it for phone calls and such, but 4G *may* not work. Most likely it will be compatible across the board, buyers will just need to unlock their phone.

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Exclusive releases have messed up a lot more than just the Moto X. What was the last carrier-exclusive device that was really successful?

Wow, so no cheap unlocked version that i could just pop my SIM into and go? Bad Amazon, bad. #fail

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk ATT

I think AT&T exclusivity makes sense for Amazon. Firstly, I'm guessing that Amazon gets some type financial incentive from AT&T (duh). This guarantees Amazon a certain sales number and allows them to test the waters without having to invest in a wireless chip that covers all the different bands. Making a separate CDMA phone just for Verizon (who isn't shy at all about forcing extreme bloat from their garbage apps) seems like a waste of resources on the very first foray into the smartphone market.

AT&T was very generous to Apple by agreeing not to ruin the iPhone with any carrier bloat apps, and I'm guessing that Amazon has the exact same requirement and is looking to use their potential popularity with AT&T as a bargaining chip against Verizon. As far as I'm aware, Apple only allows Verizon to place one or two apps on the iPhone (I never owned an iPhone on Verizon).

Too bad you can't get rid of the apple bloatware. They shove as much crap on their phones as anyone

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Apple's a special case, though. Selling millions and millions of iPhones is an absolute given, so carriers are willing to bow to Apple since they know they're going to make a ton of money anyway. Samsung could probably do the same at this point, at least with the S line, and I really wish they would.

But Amazon can't make that kind of guarantee for this brand new, unproven, kind of weird device.

Selling millions wasn't a guarantee when the iPhone launched tho (without apps, copy-paste, or even MMS). It was Apple that had to accept the exclusivity (almost needed it, in exchange for the sure money and sales up front). Amazon is probably in a similar situation...

I probably wouldn't use it as my daily drive (no access to the Play Store means I'd have to spend a looot of money to duplicate some apps that I use frequently), but if it were reasonably priced off-contract (which is probably not super likely), I'd pick one up. I like my girlfriend's Fire HDX, and I could see the experience translating well to a phone.

My friend has a hdx I actually really like but I really need google play services though everyone's different I suppose

Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 or Samsung galaxy S5

Will these short sighted companies EVER learn? do not sign exclusive deals to carriers, it will hamper your sales, it will hurt your long term, and unless it's just a 3 months exclusive, and even then... who cares. Congrats to amazon on limiting your customer base, REALLY smart idea in the business world.

They were already going to sell very few of these and now you are stuck with ATT? I figured they would not release a CDMA variant, at least not in the beginning but I am really surprised they are aligning with a carrier for this. I just hope shady salespeople will make it clear this "Android" powered phone will not have access to the Play Store.

Fuck CDMA. if anything, Amazon should be selling a GSM-unlocked model with support for all LTE bands used in the US ( including Sprint and Verizon) and all LTE bands used abroad. Even being an AT&T customer, I hate exclusives. They cripple otherwise great handsets.

Oh, and I'm not a fan of this sponsored data crap. Not. One. Bit.

Preach it. Couldn't agree more. I was really hoping that Amazon would go the same direction as they did with the Fire tablets, selling them cheap and going for maximum availability to get people into their ecosystem. Carrier exclusivity kind of shoots that in the foot.

I use Cricket, so I could theoretically use one of these, but it'd be a pain in the ass.

CDMA still accounts for over half the US market... Sprint / Tmo merger might accelerate the transition away from CDMA but I think it largely depends on how fast VZW moves to VoLTE. You can bet that as soon as they have even half the country covered by VoLTE the OEM will be falling over each other to release compatible phones. Until then tho, CDMA continues to be relevant and doesn't cost much to implement alongside GSM with the current chipsets.

I would have thought they would go the Nexus route and only sell them unlocked and with GSM radios (until Sprint and Verizon can play nice), and exclusively through Amazon. It worked for Google and the Nexus brand, guess Amazon didn't want to wait for the slow growth that comes with that territory.

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Eh, it didn't really work all that well for the Nexus brand, though. With the exception of the Nexus 7, Nexus devices have all pretty much just sold alright at best.

Edit: But then again, Google didn't have the world's biggest online store to use to push the Nexus devices.

It's not out of the question for them to sell it at AT&T stores and online as well. I mean it's Amazon, you think they aren't going to sell their own phone? Whether it will be unlocked or the same version AT&T carries, who knows.

There's a lot of people saying that exclusivity kills phones, and I don't disagree. It could also be that Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint weren't willing to carry the phone (and none of this is official yet anyway). Also, for those bringing up the Moto X, there were a lot of production problems with Moto Maker when it first came out. Opening it up to all the carriers would have only made those problems worse.

I agree with this. This is a "rumor" at this point. It could be exactly what you said, they are only selling it in stores at at&t or with a contract on at&t. I cannot fathom amazon not selling their phone online, unlocked, and contract free. It would just make zero sense.

Seems strange that they would go through AT&T exclusively. I would think they really want to push their video streaming. They should have gone with sprint. Unlimited data.

Yes, but their service has gotten a lot better, at least for me. Sprint could maybe get some new customers if they can get a good exclusive.

This makes sense. Amazon partnered with them for kindle devices. I wonder if you get 200mb free a month like on kindle. Well att is the best, traveling right now and I have almost full bars, my friend with sprint barely has 1.

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That's not a smart choice! Leaving other carriers out! Their goal was to get it to everyone hands so they can promote their product and exclusivity sucks!

Posted via Android Central App with LG Google Nexus 4

IMO AT&T will do what they always do. They will steer prospective customers right to the iPhone. They've been doing that for years now. When I recently went there to get my current LG G2, they said "really are you sure? How about an iPhone?"

From the Death Star using my LG G2

So what held you back from punching the sales clerk and yelling "Fuck you, I hate those things!"?

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LOL I was thinking about that but I had my 8 year old daughter with me and decided just to be calm instead of my usual self.

From the Death Star using my LG G2

Well the Kindle is a successful product, so why not? Amazon isn't looking to turn this into the IPhone, they are looking to get into the market and start to grow. I'm interested, but it's not jumping out as a must have. And Amazon isn't the same as Facebook. Having a smart phone dedicated to streaming videos and shopping is different than one focused on social networking.

The kindle fire and a phone are very different in terms of usage. A phone that is only compatible with one carrier in 2014 will have a hard time going anywhere.

I'd guess this has to do with att sponsored data. Maybe something like no data charges for streaming prime music

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That is how I understood the article. That you may not be charged for data using any of the prime services....music or video.

Hopefully that is the exclusive that is being mentioned.

Amazon, if this is true, meet commercial suicide, and say hi to Motomaker and the Facebook phone for me on the way down.

PS Not happy your auto updates broke root on my KFHD.
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Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 or Samsung galaxy S5

Just like the iPhone before it, all this means to me is that I won't ever have to worry about buying one...not that I was ever thinking about it anyway. I won't switch carrier's for a phone.
From my Note 2 to you

I am surprised no one has considered that Amazon may become an AT&T MVNO.

They already dipped their toe in the water with the data plans they offered for their tablets.

I am thinking an at cost phone sold with very affordable phone plan... like unlimited talk & text with 2gb for $25 a month.