Amazon is reportedly negotiating with smartphone vendors to try to get its sales and services offerings more deeply integrated into Android phones so customers can buy from and interact with the company more easily.
The company’s efforts come after its Amazon Fire phone failed in the marketplace in 2014, when it wasn’t able to compete with phones from rivals in capturing the imaginations of mobile-hungry consumers.
The talks between Amazon and mobile phone makers have been the subject of reports, including a Jan. 25 story by BGR.com, which said that the company wants to gets its services integrated more deeply into devices, beyond just adding its apps onto handsets and tablets. Part of the initiative also aims to supplant some Google services on devices to try to take more of a leadership role in low-level device systems, the article reported.
“It’s not clear when, and if, any Android OEM would risk upsetting Google by creating an Android device that’s infused with Amazon services to the core,” the story said. “After all, Google has firm rules in place that ensure its services, including search, get the best possible placement on the home screen of a device. In return, Google also lets Android OEMs preload the popular services users seek in an Android device, including the Google Play Store.”
The effort isn’t the only backroom work that Amazon has been working on in the consumer marketplace lately. In November 2015, rumors began circulating that the company is working on the creation of an app for Apple TV, which doesn’t by default offer dedicated access to Amazon’s streaming Instant Video offerings. Amazon dropped its sales of Apple TV devices in October 2015 due to the lack of built-in Amazon services on the devices, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Amazon also stopped sales of Google’s Chromecast devices for the same reason at the time.
The arrival of an Amazon app for Apple TV would make life simpler for Apple users who want to view Amazon Instant Video on their Apple TV. Presently, it can be done using Apple AirPlay with an iOS or OS X device, but that can be less reliable for streaming video viewing.
In September 2015, Amazon unveiled revamped Fire TV devices and Fire tablets, and announced several new Fire devices. Among the announcements were a $49.99 price for the 7-inch Fire tablet, the addition of a new 10.1-inch Fire HD 10 tablet and the debut of a new Fire TV Gaming Edition. The Amazon Fire TV devices boast 4K Ultra HD, support High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), have 75 percent more processing power than the previous version and cost $99.99.
Apple’s fourth-generation Apple TV device hit the market at the end of October with an improved remote, Siri integration, new capabilities for Apple Music, a new operating system, improved gaming and multiplayer options and more, according to earlier eWEEK reports. Apple TV includes a 64-bit A8 processor and fast 802.11ac WiFi and comes in two versions—a 32GB model for $149 and a 64GB model for $199. The earlier Apple TV version continues to be sold for $69.
In August 2015, Amazon began scaling back some of its other hardware plans due to the failure of the Amazon Fire mobile phone effort, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
Several months after its launch, Amazon took a $170 million charge to write down the costs associated with the Fire phone. At the same time, company officials said that there were still $83 million worth of unsold Fire phones, which forced Amazon to drastically drop the price for the smartphone and served as an illustration of the poor reception the device had in the market.