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Amazon has a new phone strategy, but it’s not very good

by Brandon Russell | January 25, 2016January 25, 2016 1:20 pm PDT

Despite the abject failure of Amazon’s Fire Phone, it sounds like the company hasn’t given up on its mobile dreams just yet. Does that mean we’re to expect a Fire Phone sequel? Something like that.

A new report from The Information claims Amazon has reached out to OEMs about making the online giant’s services a core focus of the experience, replacing what users get with Google Now and Android. A few of Amazon’s apps already come pre-loaded on select devices, but Amazon is seemingly looking to become more than that.

Think of it this way: Amazon is offering OEMs the opportunity to make a Fire Phone; none of the risk, but all of the reward for Amazon. Amazon won’t have to worry about making its own hardware, and instead help create a mobile experience built around the primary goal of buying stuff through the online giant. Amazon has an immense online presence, but a negative reputation in the phone space. Buddying up with OEMs is apparently the company’s “Plan B” rather than creating another phone on its own.

So what would be in it for smartphone makers? The promise of getting part of the profits made through these phones. From an end-user’s perspective, these devices wouldn’t have access to Google’s core services, such as Gmail, Maps, and more. Some Google apps can be replaced, but the Google Play Store is not one of them.

These Amazon devices could offer some cool incentives and perks, like a free Prime subscription, or perhaps exclusive integration with Alexa and whatever mobile Echo the company is working on. Given how poorly the Fire Phone was received, however, Amazon will have a lot of persuading to do if it wants to have any sort of increased mobile presence in a world dominated by Android and iOS devices.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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