After the dumpster fire that was the Fire Phone, it looks like Amazon is planning to re-enter the smartphone segment with a new lineup of devices codenamed "Ice." Citing two sources familiar with the matter, Gadgets 360 states that the Ice smartphones will be targeted at emerging markets like India. Unlike the Fire Phone, they will run the latest version of Android with Google Mobile Services enabled, allowing customers to download apps and games from the Play Store.
According to the report, at least one phone in the Ice lineup will be debuting in India before the end of the year, with Amazon eyeing the sub-$100 (₹6,000) price point. Alleged specs include a screen size between 5.2 and 5.5 inches, Snapdragon 435 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage, 13MP camera, Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and a fingerprint sensor at the back.
The report also claims that Amazon's upcoming phone will offer Google Assistant out of the box and not Alexa. Amazon's AI assistant isn't available in the country yet, but with the Echo slated to launch sometime later this year, the virtual assistant is expected to make its way into the Ice phone in time for its debut.
Amazon managed to sell fewer than 35,000 units of the Fire Phone, but the retailer's strategy with the Ice lineup may pay off. By targeting the entry-level segment, Amazon can market its devices to a broader audience, and providing access to the Play Store and Google's apps puts it on an equal footing with the Chinese contingent of Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, and others.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.