Amazon Fire phone exclusive to AT&T: Think OS updates

Amazon Fire phone exclusive to AT&T: Think OS updates

Summary: When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the company's upcoming Fire phone, the announcement that it would be exclusive to AT&T didn't warm many hearts. Upon reflection, this may have more to do with controlling the OS updates than anything else.

Amazon Fire phone in hand
(Image: Amazon)

There may be other reasons for Amazon to team up with AT&T, but surely the retailer-turned-phone maker had updates in mind. Amazon has borrowed from the Apple playbook with the original iPhone that was exclusive to the same carrier.

Neither Amazon nor AT&T are talking about the deal, including how updates will be handled, but it's a safe bet that Amazon wrote controlling the updates into the arrangement. The company already controls updates for its Kindle Fires, and they'll want to do the same with the Fire phone.

Apple insisted on controlling updates for the iPhone from its launch, and that was easier to do with just the one carrier. It removed carrier interference from the OS update equation, a thorny problem for Android phone makers to this day.

A lot has been said about Android updates, or lack thereof, due to having too many fingers in the broth. Apple avoided that with its exclusive deal with AT&T for the iPhone. Once it dominated the smartphone space, Apple was able to include update control in deals with all the other carriers.

Having exclusivity with AT&T will no doubt make that easier to control from the birth of the Fire phone going forward. Amazon will be pushing OS updates to all Fire phones, with carriers out of the process. It's a safe bet update control is addressed in the Fire phone agreement inked between the two companies. Amazon will want to set the precedent for the future, when the period of exclusivity with AT&T expires.

Handling updates is best left in the hands of the OS developer. It prevents outside parties from altering the user experience, and from adding junk software on top of the OS. This has worked well for Apple, and no doubt it will work just as well for Amazon. It will control what goes out and when, and that's a huge improvement over Android.

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Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Apple, iPhone, Smartphones

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  • Meanwhile, on Planet Earth ...

    "Upon reflection, this may have more to do with controlling the OS updates than anything else"

    You need - just once in your life - to talk to someone outside the bubble. You will be shocked, astounded, amazed even, to find that the average customer in Amazon's target audience really, really, really, don't give a monkey's a** about who controls updates, or even, when they get them.

    I can think of several reasons why AT&T might not be people's first choice. But updates doesn't appear on the average buyer's list. Developers' maybe. Andoid haters, certainly - but they won't be buying, anyway. But Amazon customers? Hello?
    • Although I appreciate what you are writing,

      I think he may have a point because from Amazon's perspective and not necessarily the customer's. They want to exercise full control over the updates. At least that is how I interpreted it. It's about Amazon's desires to maintain full control over their product and not have to deal with encumbrance from the carrier.
      • Wish there was an edit button...

        Sentence correction: ... because from Amazon's perspective and not necessarily the customer's, they want to exercise full control over the updates.
      • I agree - this was more about Amazon's perspective

        There are pros and cons to each type of control - carrier vs OS developer. What Amazon's goals are should be best met by OS developer control, as this product will be more about the Amazon experience than the carrier experience.
  • All about the financials

    The Apple exclusive deal was all about controlling the financial aspects. They could write in sales quotas which was why AT&T would try to shove an iPhone down your throat at every turn. They also prevented discounting. You can't really do that these days because smartphones are prolific. I have no idea what Amazon is thinking. It seems they really don't want to have a successful phone.
    Buster Friendly
  • Well they are NEVER going to update to include Google services ...

    No Google services, no-go for me.
  • Waste of Money

    What a waste of money! Why do Americans these days always feel the need to get the latest iStuff and smart phones? There is barely any difference between any of these mobile devices. A touch screen phone with internet... WOW!

    You shouldn't be able to complain about the economy or your own personal financial situation if you blow your money on trivial Amazon and Apple crap.

    Many American have a steak taste on a hamburger budget . That's part of the problem we now face from a long time ago. Barrow to the max and then whine about now having enough money . Nice house , car or truck and boat. Can you afford them or does it really matter at this period of time?

    I'm just gonna make smart decisions with my money so I don't end up with an empty bank account:

    1) Paying off my debts as they come to me. Never holding a credit card balance longer than a month. If this means living in a small studio apartment and eating ramen, rice, and beans, so be it.
    2) I will always buy small, fuel efficient and durable cars. I drive a 2006 Honda Civic now. It costs me nothing to fill up and next to nothing to insure ($25/month from Insurance Panda… woohoo!). I will not drive when I don’t need to, and use public transportation whenever possible.
    3) Developing multiple revenue streams. Doing side jobs. Building up small businesses. Doing contract work. Basically doing whatever I can to generate income from multiple sources.
    4) Grow my revenue and assets no matter what. Make sure I am always expanding and develop them to the point that they consistently generate reliable cash flow.
    5) The most important one - make as much as I can. Save as much as I can.

    iPhones... ecigarettes... Starbucks... $12 Chipotle clothes.. organic lipgloss... expensive yoga classes. Why not try living in your means for once? No wonder we have a debt crisis.
    • Topic

      Topic: Learn it, use it, live it.
      Buster Friendly
  • link to order

    Click this link to order:

    Fire, the first smartphone designed by Amazon and the only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective, Firefly, Mayday, and more. Shop Now.