Android-powered Amazon Smartphone May Battle iPhone 5

Analysts are now predicting that Amazon will release a smartphone in 2012 to take on the iPhone 5. But rumors indicate that it will most likely feature the Android operating system.

Sensing that their brand name is quickly becoming a valuable commodity in the mobile gadget marketplace, Amazon may be looking to counter the iPhone 5 in 2012 with a smartphone of their own. According to TechLeash, analysts and tipsters embedded in the Asian tech scene are both pointing to the debut of a 2012 Amazon-branded smartphone. Their report states that “This is more than a hearsay flying around without any support, thinks Mark Mahaney, analyst for Citigroup,” who “wrote with all the confidence ‘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.’”

The notion of a fourth quarter 2012 release of the Amazon smartphone would make a lot of sense for going up against the iPhone 5 release date, whether it be in June at the next WWDC, as I have reported and believe, or around the same time that the iPhone 4S was released this year. Just as Amazon has positioned the Kindle Fire to take on the iPad 2 as a price leader for this year’s Christmas shopping season, they could very well seek to do the same thing in 2012, perhaps with an even cheaper smartphone with similar features and performance to the iPhone 5.

Now being dubbed the “Kindle Phone” (a plausible name), the article goes on to explain that “Amazon’s smartphone will integrate Texas Instruments’ OMAP 4 processor and is very likely to adopt QCOM’s dual mode 6-series standalone baseband,” an impressive array of hardware, to be sure. But in terms of price, it remains to be seen if Amazon will have the wiggle room to make a cheaper smartphone than the iPhone 5 that still offers robust features, considering that production costs for the Kindle Phone may range between $ 150 and $ 170. Considering that the iPhone 4S production cost clocks in at $ 188, it would seem that Amazon could come in under the iPhone 5′s price tag in 2012, but it remains to be seen how low they will be able to go.

The Kindle Phone — Just Another Android

Perhaps the most interesting consideration about the Kindle Phone is what kind of operating system it may feature. Many have wondered if Amazon could debut a new operating system that differs from the current mobile OS platforms on the market now. However, early going suggests that, in the end, Amazon will opt for Google’s Android.

Should the Kindle Phone end up being “just another Android,” it would seem that Apple will have little to fear in losing market share to Amazon in the smartphone segment, since iPhone users tend to be comprised of users who are smitten with the Apple brand and/or disenchanted with the Android platform.

If Amazon manages to make a splash with the Kindle Phone in 2012, it will take more than sticking their logo on it and adding “Kindle” to the name. While Steve Jobs managed to make the lower-case “i” an instant branding success for Apple products, Amazon is no Apple.


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