Amazon's "Kindle Phone" killer feature: A dumbed-down Android experience?

Amazon's "Kindle Phone" killer feature: A dumbed-down Android experience?

Summary: If Amazon does indeed develop an Android smartphone, then the likes of Samsung, HTC and Sony need to be prepared for their sales to fall.

TOPICS: Amazon

Rumors abound that Amazon is in the process of developing a smartphone that could compete against the Apple iPhone.

06-07-2012 15-43-28According to the Bloomberg report, Chinese ODM giant Foxconn is working with Amazon to create an Android smartphone. People with "knowledge of the matter" claim that Amazon is also looking to acquire patents that cover wireless technology to help it defend against allegations of infringement.

Since Amazon has already enjoyed considerable success with its Kindle e-book reader and tablet hardware, a smartphone would be the next logical step. After all, Amazon already has most of the infrastructure in place that would be required by a smartphone. It has a flourishing app store and media distribution service.

On top of that, the company has experience of handling the carriers thanks to its Amazon Wireless store.

It also has experience with Android, having heavily reworked Google's mobile operating system for use on the Kindle Fire tablet. In fact, the version of Android that Amazon dishes out with the Kindle Fire is so heavily customized that it hardly looks like Android at all.

And that's a strength that Amazon could bring to a smartphone.

While there's no doubt that Android smartphones have experienced tremendous success, one of the complaints that I hear leveled against the platform is that it isn't particularly friendly, especially to those who don't consider themselves to be technically literate.

This is exactly what Amazon managed to do with the Android platform with the Kindle Fire. Here is a tablet that came from nowhere to capture a massive market share in a matter of months. As soon as Amazon released the Kindle Fire, all the other players -- including Android powerhouse Samsung -- started losing ground to the new tablet on the block.

And part of that success is undoubtedly down to the ease of use of the platform. Amazon took a platform that, at best, felt awkward on tablets and made it work. Not only that, but it polished the entire user experience to a point where people who had never touched a tablet before could pick up a Kindle Fire and start using it.

This is a trick that only Apple had previously managed to pull off -- so far.

The strength that Amazon bought to an Android tablet is exactly what it could bring to an Android smartphone -- a much-needed dumbing down of the platform that could give it an enormous advantage over both Apple iPhone and the entirety of the Android ecosystem. While the likes of Samsung, HTC and Sony would hate this -- because it's more than likely that Amazon would do to the Android smartphone market what it did to the Android tablet market, and hammer the competition -- consumers would love the chance to buy an easy-to-use smartphone from a name that it knew and trusted.

Any handset that Amazon releases is likely to be labeled an "iPhone killer" at some point, so it's worth speculating over what effect a "Kindle phone" would have on the iPhone.

My prediction is that it would have little or no effect on the iPhone. Apple appears to operate in an entirely different market to other players in that as far as iOS devices are concerned, where sales are on the whole constrained by the supply chain and production line, not consumer interest which seems to remain at a perpetual high.

Unless Amazon can pack some serious secret sauce into whatever smartphone it comes up with -- and to put a noticeable dent iPhone sales, it would have to be hardcore secret sauce -- then the only players that need to be worried are those already trying to sell Android phones.

A dumbed-down Android experience could be just what average users are waiting for, but it won't be an iPhone killer.

Topic: Amazon

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  • Amazon's "Kindle Phone" killer feature: A dumbed-down Android experience?

    I don't know which is worse, that there will be yet another android device or that linux is constantly dumbing their devices down thereby insulting its users intelligence.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Funny as MS made strides to make their OS more user

      Friendly Linux users claimed the same or similar thing about Windows users... And they seem to loath Mac users intellect:). To which I've said since when is easy actually dumb? Seems if you have a choice between hard and less so... The smart thing to choose is easy! Still if Amazon goes with android there is no getting around it Amazon can't be the mythical third horse in the phone race cause at that point they become just one of many.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • That is not the problem...

        The problem is, if you have to choose between Easy and Functional, then it is dumbed down! That is the real issue with iOS.
        • Functional is based on an individual needs/wants so it is very subjective

          I find iOS very functional myself in fact for me part of that functionality is it's ease of use.Let me ask you are fiar question what is this supposed functionality that I am missing that in your opinion I require that I now for a fact I do not need nor would I likely use said but still in your opinion knowledgable as you are I actually am missing? Get it?

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
          • Really

            Well, I find it extremely lacking in functionality!
          • And that is one many/woman's opinion. While another is

            I do not find it lacking in functionality what so ever in fact it does more than I actually require and or use. See there is yet another opinion and I'm betting there are a host of opinions on this very subject across the board to which I would say a general statement like iOS lacks functionality is wrong where a more precise and acc8rate statement should be for my needs iOS lacks functionality followed by a list or something. See it's not hard.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • Functionality Lacking in iOS

            Dear James Quinn,
            My sister owns an iPhone 4S. The problem with it and all iOS devices is the ability to share and connect the data I want to the services I want to connect the data to.

            An example would be the camera app in iOS. The camera app does not allow an iOS user to share with service and or app except iCloud or via e-mail. Now in iOS 6, the user will have only Facebook or Twitter integration for pictures and videos. The integration is limited to one type of data and a limited set of partners Dictated by Apple. That is too much control for me, sorry.

            Android on the other hand lets you share from an application that supports sharing of data to any service via the intent system. iOS does not have a system like this that I am aware of. This means that I'm presented with an action menu when I long press or hit the share button in the apps menu. This is one glaring design flaw in iOS that prevents me from moving to iOS.
          • Fair enough I myself don't know the particulars concerning this issue

            because it's not something I find myself wanting or needing to do... So you see it's not a problem for me. Now since I admit to not thinking about his issue I can't say if there is an App for that or not but I suppose there could be.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • iOS has the options most people who use it would need.

            To share a photo, you need to use the app to share that photo. iOS doesn't have too much of the Android customisability but most iOS users don't want to waste time customising the phone - we'd rather spend more time using it or the apps that are made for it.
          • @rmikel:

            And yet, iOS lacking the ability to share pictures is the most popular mobile platform for sharing images on platforms like Flicker, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

            I think your main problem with Ild is that you have no clue about what it can do and how to use it.

            Me? I find Android far to sluggish (even ICS), very unstable and its gimped multi-tasking leading to very poor battery life.

            To each their own.
          • Talk about no clue...

            "I find Android far to sluggish (even ICS), very unstable and its gimped multi-tasking leading to very poor battery life. "

            You really have no clue. I love when apple fanbois use the 'too slow/unstable/does to much' reason for dogging Android. I have an S3 that has jelly bean on it and it definitely matches the iphone in speed and question. My phone definitely has the multitasking capability, but the beauty of my phone is I can control the multitasking of my phone to conserve the battery right on the home screen..I don't have to drill down into the depths of my settings just to change the brightness...etc. Plus, is the iphone STILL tethered to itunes? Can you increase storage yet? Can you watch a hi-def movie from an iphone on a HDTV yet? Do you have S-beam/NFC? Can the iphone do a screen capture by swiping it yet? The tag line "the next big thing is already here" is the truth and you fanbois are showing your fear by using lame excuses for dogging Androids...
      • Most Apple purchasers

        are fashion victims, they don;t care a hoot if its easier or not.
        • Excellent finally a well reasoned argument full of facts and examples...

          except this was not it...sigh. In fact this was a childish rant of some sort. Sorry to all children who would not be caught dead making such statements/rants.

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
          • I could give you examples

            but i doubt my friends who bought Apple because it was a "brand" would appreciate their names being plastered all over the net. They are the same friends that if you visit Harrods (a large store), ask you to get some plastic carrier bags with the Harrods logo on the front so they can carry non-Harrods goods in them to imply they can afford to shop there.
            Its all about status, not whether its good or bad, easy or hard.
            These are people that wear clothes that have the labels on outside to imply they are fashion gurus and not advertising boards for that company (which they really are but too fashion conscience to see it)
          • And theses people are your friend!?! You see right there I have ample

            to doubt you. I myself would not have friend like that and I do not. So you claim to have friend not just one but several like these people... I think not or you are a very bad judge of character. I also asked that you give well "reasoned" arguments and you did not even attempt that so again I have to assume you have none....FAIL.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
    • What'd he say?

      I think it's that linux is constantly dumbing down their devices. As a highly centralized hardware manufacturer, linux cannot really do anything else.
      Robert Hahn
      • Linux doesn't make hardware!

        It's an OS.
        • There's no moss growin' on you!

          Robert Hahn
      • Linux is a kernel

        and can't be dumbed down but the GUI on top can be
        • Sure it can

          As somebody who has compiled many a Linux kernel, I can tell you, you cab compile Linux with few features and completely lacking in module support.