Amazon Needs to Be Clear About What Drives Its Strengths

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-07-12 Print this article Print


5. How will Android be handled?

One of the nice things about the Kindle Fire is that users wouldn€™t even know it€™s running Android. But whether Amazon would be able to pull the same trick in a smartphone is unknown. After all, Google is heavily promoting Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), and consumers might expect some of its elements to be made apparent. Amazon won€™t do that, and that could hurt the company.

6. The timing is all wrong

According to some reports, it€™s possible that Amazon could be launching its smartphone toward the end of this year. If that happens, the company would be in for trouble. Apple will likely launch the iPhone 5 at some point around October. The last thing Amazon would want is to compete head-on with that device. Unfortunately, the company reportedly missed that memo.

7. Where€™s the long-term strategy?

By continuing to deliver cheap devices, Amazon doesn€™t appear ready to establish a full, long-term strategy. Instead, the company is focusing all its efforts on bundling outdated components into products that it can sell at a discount. Such a strategy is decidedly short term. And in the smartphone market, with companies mapping out their strategies over several years, short term is not a good thing.


8. Services can€™t come first

Part of Amazon€™s desire to sell its products for cheap revolves around its services. The company reasons that the more people it can get to sign up for its services, the better. In the tablet space, that might work. But in the smartphone market, Amazon needs to remember that the only way consumers will buy its device and then keep it for two years is if they like the handset first. Amazon has its plans backward. And that€™s a mistake.

9. What is Amazon all about?

Before Amazon can finally jump into the smartphone market, the company needs to determine what it is and what drives its strategies. Is Amazon a retail company that provides hardware? Is it a hardware company with online services? Amazon doesn€™t appear to know. And until it can figure that out, it might want to stay away from the smartphone space.

10. Too much hardware isn€™t a good thing

Amazon should be aware that getting into too many hardware businesses is not always a good thing. After all, hardware is costly, and the research and development that€™s needed to get it off the ground is something that can€™t be overlooked. What€™s worse, after launching a single device, the company might get caught up in a road map that will see it spend significant cash on a host of future launches. Hardware companies like Apple and RIM are good candidates for that. But retail companies like Amazon have too many moving parts to be offering all kinds of mobile products.

Follow Don Reisinger on Twitter by clicking here

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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