Amazon's Smartphone: 10 Features We Would Like to See

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-06-06 Print this article Print

Amazon surprised both reporters and the public at large on June 4, announcing that it would be holding a special event at its Seattle headquarters on June 18 to unveil a new product. Since then, the company has released some hints about its plans, but has tried to keep all of the actual information surrounding the event as secret as possible. Although no one knows exactly what Amazon will launch, that hasn't stopped speculation that a smartphone is the likely product. For months, media reports have predicted that Amazon will introduce a new smartphone, and now this seems like the perfect time—after Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference and before its iPhone announcement—to launch such a device. But with so many top-flight smartphones on the market, what kind of smartphone would Amazon likely introduce to grab a substantial piece of the mobile market? If Amazon does actually introduce a smartphone on June 18, expect the Web retail giant to try to score at least as much success with a mobile handset as it has achieved with its Kindle tablet line. Check out this eWEEK slide show to find out what features would make the Amazon smartphone a standout in an otherwise crowded mobile market.

  • Amazon's Smartphone: 10 Features We Would Like to See

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - Amazon's Smartphone: 10 Features We Would Like to See
  • Amazon's Low Pricing

    Amazon has succeeded in the mobile market because of its plan to keep prices down. The company's Kindle tablets start at just $139 for the Fire HD and go to $379 for the nicer, bigger Fire HDX. If Amazon can keep its smartphone pricing down at levels that Apple and Samsung can't compete with, it'll have an easy time selling units.
    2 - Amazon's Low Pricing
  • A User-Friendly Design

    Amazon's success has been due in part to its ability to provide product designs that both are attractive and reflect the desires of consumers. The company's tablets are easy to hold and bring along when traveling, and their screens are top-notch. One can make the argument that the iPad is a better-looking device, but the Kindle Fire HDX is right there with it. Amazon needs to keep a similar pace with its smartphone.
    3 - A User-Friendly Design
  • Full Amazon Services Integration

    Amazon can be very successful in the smartphone market if it makes customers realize that they need to use its many services. From the Kindle e-reader to Amazon Prime Instant, Amazon can bundle all kinds of entertainment services into its smartphone to keep people engaged. If customers can find value in those services, they won't want any other smartphone, regardless of what Apple and others turn out.
    4 - Full Amazon Services Integration
  • Easy Access Beyond

    The secret sauce in Amazon's mobile success has been promoting its tablets on However, for the company to be successful in smartphones, it'll need to get the device into carrier stores and make sure those companies are peddling its device. That's a key component in smartphone success that Amazon can't overlook.
    5 - Easy Access Beyond
  • Full Carrier Support

    There's nothing worse than when a really great smartphone launches, but it's only available on a single carrier network. Apple fans learned that lesson when the iPhone launched only on AT&T initially. Amazon can't make that same mistake and only work with selected carriers. In today's mobile world, carrier-agnosticism is crucial.
    6 - Full Carrier Support
  • A 5-Inch Display

    There's no doubt, looking at the marketplace right now, that the 4-inch display on the iPhone 5S is too small for customers. At the same time, the giant screens we're seeing from companies like Samsung and Sony are too big for the average user. The sweet spot on smartphone displays is 5 inches. It's at that size that users can expect a better overall viewing experience while still being able to hold the device with one hand and thumb around the screen. Here's hoping Amazon gets it right.
    7 - A 5-Inch Display
  • More Apps in the Appstore

    Amazon's Appstore has been growing consistently over the last year, but the company's marketplace needs a boost to get closer to matching the Apple App Store and the Google Play marketplace. If Amazon launches a smartphone on June 18, the company better announce new developer relationships that boost the number of available apps. Software is vital to the smartphone's success.
    8 - More Apps in the Appstore
  • Kindle FreeTime for the Kids

    Amazon's Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, a paid service that allows parents to set how much time kids can spend on Kindle tablets, has been an absolutely outstanding solution for many customers. Realizing that, Amazon should make it available on the Kindle smartphone. The feature would give control of smartphone usage back to parents and help them keep track of what their kids are doing. To not include Kindle FreeTime would be a huge mistake on Amazon's part.
    9 - Kindle FreeTime for the Kids
  • More Than 32GB of Onboard Storage

    Although most Android device makers, like HTC and others, seem content to launch smartphones with up to 32GB of onboard storage, that's truly not enough. Amazon should at least offer 64GB of onboard storage, along with expansion to its cloud-based storage services. Granted, onboard storage cuts into margins, but it matters greatly. And it shouldn't be overlooked.
    10 - More Than 32GB of Onboard Storage
  • Quick Software Updates

    One of the biggest issues in the Android ecosystem is the lack of timely updates pushed out to devices. Google might introduce new software updates every year, but precious few actually get updated to the new platform. Amazon uses Android as the foundation for its own Fire OS on the Kindle tablets. That could be a problem for a smartphone product line because not having a fast and easy upgrade path whenever new software launches could sound a death knell for the device.
    11 - Quick Software Updates

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