Amazon Launching a SmartphoneWell well, look who's building their own entire platform. First Amazon launched a tablet, one running Android without Google. Now, apparently, the company is planning on getting into smartphones. That's not an enormous surprise, considering how successful the Kindle Fire has proven to be. But It is still a massive play.
Evidence for Amazon getting into the smartphone game comes courtesy of someone with insider knowledge at Foxconn. Foxconn is the electronics manufacturer that produces some most of the recognizable brands in tech, from Apple to Microsoft to Acer to Motorola, Nintendo, Sony, and Nokia. As such, they are a major source of product leaks.
Amazon.com's new HQ building in South Lake Union, Seattle, WA
Amazon has already created an infrastructure strong enough to run a smartphone on. They have apps, magazines, music, games, TV shows, etc. all accessible from their store. Right now their tablet is the only device truly taking advantage of this, though you can install the Amazon App Store on any Android device. Launching a phone is a logical next step for the company, though that begins moving away from the Kindle brand that made the tablet.
Before they do this, however, Amazon is intent on protecting itself in a hostile patent world. They have hired high-profile patent expert Matt Gordon to beef up their patent portfolio, and they have been on a quest to build a strong telephony-related portfolio ever since. Which is important, considering that Amazon has been in 5 major patent cases this year. That pales in comparison to last year, however, when the company saw 20.
Amazon's entry into smartphones will mark an interesting moment. amazon's hardware runs a derivative of Google's open-source Android operating system, and it could muddy the Android waters further. But who knows: maybe Amazon can force Apple and Google to innovate even more without risking either's position.