Amazon reportedly working on a new phone for emerging markets

It has been several years since Amazon discontinued their Fire Phone and they might be ready to try entering the phone market again, if a report by Gadgets360 is to be believed. The publication claims Amazon “is working on a new lineup of smartphones branded as Ice, according to two sources familiar with the matter.” Unlike Amazon’s Prime-exclusive phones, which it works in conjunction with phone manufacturers to offer, this new phone will carry Amazon branding. It’s said the phone will have Google Mobile Services, such as Gmail and Google Play, which is a big departure from Amazon’s other Android-based products.

The new Amazon phone will initially be targeted towards emerging markets, such as India, instead of the US, where the Fire Phone was primarily sold. The phone is said to launch some time this year in at least India, which incidentally is the newest market to gain the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

A device being tested has a 5.2 to 5.5 inch display, 13 megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, Snapdragon 435 CPU, and Android 7.1.1. Sources say the phone will likely be priced “at around Rs 6,000” which is around $93. It apparently does not have any Alexa capabilities, which would make sense since Alexa is not yet available on any device in India.

Amazon would certainly love to lay claim to a portion of the phone market. While the Fire Phone was by no means a terrible device, its very public failure will certainly cast a shadow on any new Amazon branded phone. Starting with a modest phone in emerging markets could be a good strategy to inch their way into the phone market again.

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6 comments
  1. John C. says:

    I bought the BLU R1 HD through the Amazon discount program, and it’s proven over the past year to be a reliable, easy to use backup Android phone to the main, and higher spec, device that I use, especially for a $50 purchase.
    It does have a small about 1 inch thick horizontal tile of Amazon products advertising on the screensaver/opening screen. But otherwise, it functions pretty much like a normal Android phone, and has had its OS OTA’d from 5.0 to 6.01 during the time I’ve owned it.
    There was a bit of scandal months back where BLU was forced to admit that one of its Chinese suppliers had installing spyware on the phones that automatically reported back to somewhere in China all kinds of personal user data. But that was subsequently corrected and ended in a firmware update.
    Actually, these days, I’d ALMOST be willing to use the BLU phone as my primary phone, except that the main camera, an important feature to me, is a bit weak. But for browsing, email, Facebook, and even media streaming, the phone works smoothly, fast and overall just fine.
    I actually find the Amazon advertising bar on the BLU phone MUCH MUCH less intrusive than the full-screen Amazon content screensaver I get on my Amazon Fire tablet every time I turn on its screen. If I needed a low-priced Android phone in the future, I’d be at least willing to consider an Amazon product — notwithstanding the demise of the original Fire Phone. Just don’t make it a clunker!!!

  2. Eddy says:

    I own a Fire Phone and paired up with Google Play Store it is an Amazing Phone. The Camera is top notch and battery life was great as long as you turned off Dynamic Perspective. I loved the gestures and side screen features the phone had. I think it failed due to having the limited Amazon App Store. Looking forward to seeing it make its way over to the US. As for the BLU R1 HD, it is a decent phone with a horrible camera. If the Camera were in par with what shipped with th original Fire Phone it would have been a good phone.

  3. unknownsoldier says:

    You are right on Eddy, I love my Fire Phone, it was ahead of its time and was more than capable of putting iPhone in an early grave. The lack of native Google Play Store support was its achilles heel.

  4. Keith says:

    I had a Fire Phone for awhile. It was decent running CM but the camera sucked (due to lack of source code, it never functioned like stock which was a great camera).
    No one wanted Fire OS
    NO one wanted to pay the bloated retail price when it was released (like $750 in 2014 for a phone with 2012’s specs)
    It was a colossal failure but Amazon has the resources to get it right the second time.

    • Eddy says:

      Amazon did admit they got the price wrong. It would have been nice to have seen it launched with Alexa integrated. I wonder how much of an impact that might of had.

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