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Amazon Reportedly Plans Smartphone

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the remember-when-companies-just-did-one-thing dept.

Cellphones 78

AlistairCharlton writes "Online retailer Amazon is developing its own smartphone to take on the Apple iPhone and handsets that run the Google Android operating system, according to media reports 'Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. (2038), the Chinese mobile- phone maker, is working with Amazon on the device, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Amazon is seeking to complement the smartphone strategy by acquiring patents that cover wireless technology and would help it defend against allegations of infringement, other people with knowledge of the matter said.'"

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Patents (1, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562603)

...acquiring patents that cover wireless technology and would help it defend against allegations of infringement...

Yeah. Innovation. That's what patents drive.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Oh wait. I already said that...

Re:Patents (4, Funny)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562625)

maybe amazon should hire some engineers and make something new?

oh wait, that's going to take years and they need something this quarter

Re:Patents (5, Interesting)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562639)

I'm sure Amazon will innovate in information harvesting and content steering with their Kindle phone. I trust Amazon as much as I trust Facebook to design and control my phone.

Re:Patents (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40562705)

That is the same reason I won't use Android. Google is a marketing company, nothing more.

For the record, I won't use Apple products either.

Re:Patents (5, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562773)

That is the same reason I won't use Android. Google is a marketing company, nothing more.

For the record, I won't use Apple products either.

Let me guess, you only trust phones from RIM, a company that can neither market nor innovate!

Re:Patents (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562785)

They innovate in the field of selling your supposedly secured data to tinpot dictators.

Re:Patents (2)

sglewis100 (916818) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562869)

Let me guess, you only trust phones from RIM, a company that can neither market nor innovate!

I guess that's a better guess than Windows Phone.

Re:Patents (1)

Mathieu Lutfy (69) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563317)

I don't know for the OP, but many of us still cling to our aging Nokia N900 running Maemo. Easy to hack/play, free as in freedom, based on Debian.

Re:Patents (2)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563549)

I ditched that one for an iPhone long ago. And I'm still alive, so Apple can't be all bad.

Re:Patents (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40563793)

Get out of here you tucking fed. Your pseudonym 'tsa' says it all.

Re:Patents (2)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40565501)

Oh fuck off you moron. If you'd cared to look at my user ID you'd see that I had the name tsa in 1996 already, waaaaaaaaaaay before you were even potty trained.

Re:Patents (1)

Mathieu Lutfy (69) | more than 2 years ago | (#40564371)

I guess I shouldn't feed the trollls.. but :

I could survive with a phone running Windows, or even Vax VMS. I just wouldn't use it as much and would be far less amusing, secure and providing less freedom. Anyway, it's just a gadget, and one in decline, I'd argue.

(I, for one, would welcome a VMS smart phone. If Microsoft did it, why not VMS?)

Re:Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40563911)

No, he uses phones from Microsoft, a company with a long history of being trustworthy.

Re:Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40564633)

"That is the same reason I won't use Android. Google is a marketing company, nothing more.
For the record, I won't use Apple products either."

Can you repeat? There was too much wind, I couldn't read your smoke signals.

Re:Patents (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563407)

Yes much like Apple harvesting data for its iAD program. But it's OK if Apple does it right?

Re:Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40567057)

You mean the iAD you can opt out of completely?

Re:Patents (2)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563515)

Such a pity that it has come to this. You can't make a smartphone without infringing patents. That's not entirely what they were meant for.

Re:Patents (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40564211)

you can license FRAND patents to connect to the network and make a workable phone. the patent owners have to agree to license them to you at the same rates which they license to everyone else which are pennies per handset.

its the OS patents you have to worry about

it's not pennies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40570947)

the patent owners have to agree to license them to you at the same rates which they license to everyone else which are pennies per handset.

you're wrong. if you don't have any IP, the licenses are definitely not pennies per handset.

"For 3G, if you have no IP of your own to bargain with, if you're at the bottom of the value chain you're looking at 25% royalties which can come down to 7% if you have IP; 10 or 15% is standard," says Michael Morgan. To make phones that use the GSM standard for calls, you have to join the GSM Alliance and pay their fees; Qualcomm has its own fee for the US CDMA standard.

source: http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/whos-making-money-from-your-smartphone-992247

It's going to be GREAT!!!! (4, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562643)

It's going to be a great smartphone, it will be very smart, every pixel on it will be personally supervised by Bezos and you'll be able to use the smartphone for everything!

You can browse Amazon with it.
You can email to Amazon with it.
You can buy from Amazon with it.
You can sell on Amazon with it.
You can Amazon the Amazon with it.

It's so great, that they will put Amazon into Amazon because they heard that you like to Amazon while you Amazon.

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (4, Funny)

Quakeulf (2650167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562703)

I'll just throw it in the Amazon.

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (4, Funny)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562917)

It's so great, that they will put Amazon into Amazon because they heard that you like to Amazon while you Amazon.

That's Amazong!

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563219)

it's true, I read it in reviews on Amazon!

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40563095)

It's like free inflight wifi. I can read 10 pages of 100 books.

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (1)

jkiller (1030766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563267)

Are we hating on Amazon, or just the rumored phone? Personally, I LOVE amazon. One of my favorite review sites if you have the time to filter some BS. Almost always has the best prices and Prime membership is totally worth it for the shipping especially if you utilize their free video streaming service (free meaning "included in Prime membership). Costs me less than Netflix.

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563425)

one-click patent...........

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40568315)

Fucking over wikileaks...........

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40563773)

I like Amazon.com a lot, but I wouldn't buy a Kindle or Kindle Phone. It was innovative during the transition period of the post-PC era, but there are better alternatives that have stock Android out there now. I'd give preference to Google-branded devices because they're more likely to actually issue updates. Nobody wants a proprietary eBook reader anymore... they want tablets. Same with their stupid "smart" phone. We already have enough restrictions on stock Android phones (all of which are not related to Android or Google's fault, but who needs to add more?)

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (3, Insightful)

hsqueak (1068014) | more than 2 years ago | (#40564383)

You sure about that? Plenty of people are still buying e-readers because they *gasp* want to read books. I know it's a novel concept. If you don't want to read books then yes, get a tablet, but for people who read, e-ink gives great battery life in a very light and portable format which is readable in direct sunlight, unlike fairly much every tablet. And they do exactly what you want, without any FB/Twitter/Angry Birds/email distractions.

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (1)

ProbablyJoe (1914672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563957)

I think they're just referencing the Kindle Fire, which is very Amazon centric and cuts out a lot of the functionality of Android. It's pretty much designed to use Amazon content and nothing else. It's easy to assume that any phone the produced would be similar.

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (1)

noh8rz5 (2674523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563363)

yo dog, i heard you like amazon, so i put amazon on your phone so you can shop while you talk.

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563589)

Can you play Flight of the Amazon Queen [wikipedia.org] on it?

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563761)

Can you ever! [amazon.com]

(in the voices of all Simpsons characters singing about the Monorail [youtube.com] ): Amazon, Amazooooooon, Amazoooooooooooooooooon!

Ama... Doh!

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563935)

Woa! Only 57 US$!

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 2 years ago | (#40564537)

Or you can get the freeware version right from SCUMMVM.

http://www.scummvm.org/downloads/#extras [scummvm.org]

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40565445)

But then you don't have the box. Many adventure games always want the box. And many of them collect all the games they played.

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (-1, Redundant)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 2 years ago | (#40564995)

It's going to be a great smartphone, it will be very smart, every pixel on it will be personally supervised by Bezos and you'll be able to use the smartphone for everything!

You can browse Amazon with it.
You can email to Amazon with it.
You can buy from Amazon with it.
You can sell on Amazon with it.
You can Amazon the Amazon with it.

It's so great, that they will put Amazon into Amazon because they heard that you like to Amazon while you Amazon.

Yo dawg, I heard you like Amazon....

Re:It's going to be GREAT!!!! (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40567903)

The "Amazon experience" wasn't so bad for the Kindle fire. My issue was the restrictions placed on the device (movie formats, video players which could help alleviate that). I wiped it and installed CM7 within about two days of getting it - but it wasn't branding that bothered me, it was the closedness of it. I'd never make a good Apple customer.

I dont have a smart phone. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40562653)

But id love to get one....What am i waiting for?

Im not waiting for an Amazon branded smartphone.
Im not waiting for some specific killer app.
Im not waiting for iphone 7.0 or whatever number theyre up to.
Im waiting for an unlimited plan that is closer to $50 a month than it is to $100.

Yea i know... it'll probably never happen.

So i'll probably never have a smart phone... no matter who puts their name on them.

Re:I dont have a smart phone. (4, Funny)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562739)

Virgin Mobile.

Re:I dont have a smart phone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40564007)

I see what you did there, very clever :)

Re:I dont have a smart phone. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562821)

T-mobile $30/month if you are ok with only 100 minutes of voice. If you also want unlimited minutes it is $60. Only a portion of the data is at 4G(not really 4G , just like the rest of them), but they do not cut you off.

Re:I dont have a smart phone. (2)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563073)

So you don't currently have a smart phone? How do you know you need an unlimited plan? I just took my first foray into smartphone world about a month ago and found that I don't use nearly as much data as I thought I would. My usage for the first month is just a shade over 2GB and that's using the smartphone like a fiend since it's still a new shiny toy to me. FWIW, the T-Mobile Value plan, Straight Talk, Virgin Mobile, Simple Wireless, and Cricket all have plans with data in the ballpark of $50/mo.

The Foxconn monopoly (5, Interesting)

Torp (199297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562799)

Everyone's worried by apple and google and microsoft, but do you notice Foxconn is manufacturing them all? :)

Re:The Foxconn monopoly (4, Informative)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563203)

72.8 million in profits for all of 2011, on 6.35 billion of revenue [marketwatch.com]

I wouldn't be too concerned about Foxconn taking over IT any time soon.

Re:The Foxconn monopoly (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563345)

Yeah that was my thought. Though to be honest, looking at the overall smartphone market, it seems to be getting a bit super-saturated with so many players in the field.

Re:The Foxconn monopoly (1)

Torp (199297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563477)

Creative accounting anyone? :)

Re:The Foxconn monopoly (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563745)

Creative accounting anyone? :)

baseless accusations anyone? Got any facts?

It's practically common knowledge the Chinese get paid next to nothing for assembling those products. Apple, HP, Dell, etc.. make Foxconn and other suppliers submit a list of all of their expenses to produce a good, and then Apple (et al) decides how much profit they will be allowed. They then demand decreases each year.

So, yes.. their profits are terrible.

Re:The Foxconn monopoly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40563473)

You do know that Foxconn is the worlds largest electronics manufacturer with factories in 14 different countries, right?

Re:The Foxconn monopoly (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563831)

Yea. Which tells you where the money isn't at. Most the price of a smartphone is 'IP', overhead, R&D, marketing and most of all, sweet sweet profit. Why do ya think everybody + dog wants in?

Re:The Foxconn monopoly (4, Insightful)

G-Man (79561) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563715)

Well, there is that adage about the person who gets rich in a gold rush is the one who sells picks and shovels...

Re:The Foxconn monopoly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40565297)

Foxconn is not the only builder of phones, by a long shot.

OMG (3, Funny)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562837)

They are going to patent 'One-Click Dialling'!!!

Mini Kindle Fire? (3, Interesting)

ravenscar (1662985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40562847)

I guess I'll hold judgement until I see an announcement, but a mini Kindle Fire springs to mind. IMO (price aside) the Kindle Fire is the worst of all worlds in the mobile space - laggy and locked down. It's everything I don't want in my next phone. On the bright side, it'll probably be cheap.

Re:Mini Kindle Fire? (5, Insightful)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563025)

I'll give you laggy, but locked down? For the mobile space, the Kindle Fire is mostly an ordinary Android device, except that it's got a better eReader app. You can side-load third-party apps without rooting, or you can root it and install the Google Marketplace, or so I've heard.

Of course, the general lock-downedness of the mobile space is irritating to me, but that's a separate topic.

Re:Mini Kindle Fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40563979)

Of the android competitors, it did the most to keep anyone from using it as an android device. And they've issued more than one update trying to keep it that way.

I still like them (I have two), bit let's call it like it is... An Amazon tablet with Android somewhere underneath until you manage to get the rom swapped out.

Re:Mini Kindle Fire? (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40568081)

There are plenty of CM7 and CM9 roms available - the device can be wiped completely with sweet sweet CM goodness.

Everybody's doing it (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563169)

  1. Get hardware from HTC
  2. Throw Android on it
  3. Re-brand everything and/or replace it with your versions
  4. ???
  5. PROFIT!

Huh? (4, Interesting)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563505)

Amazon Plans Smartphone to Rival Apple iPhone and Google Android Devices

So if it's competing against Android, is it running Android? Or is it running some other OS that Amazon put together?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40563947)

bumping for interest

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40565387)

You know that doesn't actually bump it, right?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40575231)

Bumping for interest.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40563949)

Yeah, that was my first thought. Don't Kindles currently run a watered-down Android?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569349)

Amazon could mean they'd compete against existing Android devices but yet still run Android themselves.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40569361)

I like to bold words in my comment because it makes me sound smart.

Maybe time for a partnership? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40563561)

Maybe they will embed within the phone the power of the Kindle with the Search Engine of Bing....

Then they could call the product "Kindle-ing" and so it would finally live up to its name!!!

Let's see some new service providers (5, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40563621)

I'm less impressed with new phones entering the market. There's a ton of smart phones and everyone can find something they like.

Where we do need more competition is decent service providers. There's a handful of majors (I won't even go into the pay as you go crap vendors). The majors like Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc... have all settled into a pricing structure where they barely compete. There's no dynamic at work driving the price of service down. If anything, they occasionally increase their prices. I'd like to see someone with the financial means to compete enter the arena and change the game.

Re:Let's see some new service providers (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#40564057)

The majors will never be price competitive because they don't have to be. Worst case scenario is that they get out of the retail business and sell service strictly to the MVNOs. And the MVNOs are getting better. They're not all "crap vendors" anymore (though plenty still are). They have incredibly competitive prices and some have even heard of customer service. I personally think as MVNOs improve, the big boys will be more than content to lose market share to them because they'll make money either way. I foresee a situation like long distance service in the late 90's. Sure you could use AT&T, Sprint, or MCI for long distance, but if you wanted a decent price for the exact same product you went elsewhere.

I had Cox Wireless. It was crap. (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40565013)

At the end on my contract I decided to go with an MVNO briefly last year. Cox Communications purchased some bandwidth off Sprint and offered a decent pricing bundle for people who already had their cable and high speed internet.

Cox talked a good game, but they weren't organized. They had difficulties porting my existing phone number. They didn't have a decent selection of phones (I had a HTC Wildfire. A true POS if there ever was one). Their Customer Service people seemed under-trained on the phone. They made BIG mistakes in my billing each month, so I was always calling to get crap corrected. I had to watch the wireless portion of my bill like a hawk.

And Cox failed. They deserved to.

I signed up for service with Cox Wireless last May and they pulled the plug ~6 months later. There was an internal memo that leaked saying they couldn't compete with 4G vendors, they were unable to buy the most popular phones, and the market changed faster than they could adapt. I received a letter in Nov. 2011 telling me they were freeing me from my contract. I could keep my phone (which I sold) and they gave me some money since they were the party breaking the contract.

I expect the current wave of Mobile Virtual providers will be a hodge-podge of the same experience for many people. Here today and gone tomorrow.

Like I said, I'd like to see a serious player get in the game and drive prices down.

Re:I had Cox Wireless. It was crap. (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#40565437)

TracFone and its subsidiaries (Straight Talk, NET10, etc) have been around since 1996. Page Plus began offering cell service in 1998. Virgin Mobile has been around since 2001. Boost has been in the US since 2003. Simple Mobile since 2009. There will be plenty of MVNOs that are here today and gone tomorrow. But at the same time, MVNOs aren't something new and many have built up reasonable track records of success. There are plenty of serious player driving prices down. You just refuse to look at them because once upon a time you decided to be a pilot for wireless service through that bastion of reliability and customer service that is the cable company and it didn't turn out so well.

Yuo Fai7 It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40564127)

Why, exactly, do we need yet another Smartphone? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40564193)

We have the iPhone and we have Android. Unless Amazon intends to develop it's own OS, then their phone is just going to be another Android phone. Oh joy... because it's not like there are any Android phones on the market that allow browsing and shopping with Amazon, are there?

Seems to me that their interests would be better served by developing apps that run on existing phones that work better than the ones they have out there right now.

Re:Why, exactly, do we need yet another Smartphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40564813)

Should be the top comment on this article

Re:Why, exactly, do we need yet another Smartphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40570587)

Well, how about this:

Apple is draconian, and makes it tough for Amazon (or anyone else) to compete.

Android is not really owned by Google, it also includes the carriers (Verizon, ATT etc) and the handset makers (Samsung etc) NONE of which upgrades your OS for you except for the Nexus line, and have incompatible SDKs, creating problems for developers (even w/ .apk files)

Amazon has a great IT backbone and is likely to avoid the Android problems above, and present a unified developer experience.

I dunno, but it seems like it could be a winner.

It is only fair. (0)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#40564397)

Apple copied the Kindle and its content-to-device-locking (and named it iPad), so now Amazon can copy the iPhone.

Smartphone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40566835)

"Smartphone, smartphone smart phone. Smartphonesmartphone?"

"Smartphone smartphone smartphone."

"Smartphone, smartphone! Smartphone..."

"SMARTPHONE!"

Yawn (1)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | more than 2 years ago | (#40573861)

Who will come out with a branded smart-phone next -- Walmart? JC Penney?

Not Chinese (1)

thomas8166 (1244688) | more than 2 years ago | (#40580815)

For the record, Foxconn isn't Chinese, its Taiwanese.

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