Amazon has a “fail fast” mindset that results in them creating many services and then quickly shuttering them if they don’t succeed. According to a report from The Information, Amazon is having another go at smartphones, though this time without hardware and instead through software partnerships with OEMs, not taking the failed Fire Phone approach.
Amazon already deals in place with various carriers and phone makers to preload their main shopping and Kindle app. But Amazon is now aiming for more than just preloads, which could easily be construed for bloatware by users. To replace Google Now and other voice assistants, Amazon could make their popular Echo speaker into a smartphone app. Additionally, one could see their Firefly camera features, which identifies products and gives users a shortcut to buy them an Amazon, turned into an app.
However, Amazon will still preload the the dozens of apps they have for their various shopping services and products. There is also the possibility that Amazon could give owners of these phones an extended trial of Prime, which would give them access to a music streaming, video, and books service, in addition to free two day shipping.
Currently, Amazon gives carriers and phone makers that preload apps a cut of the revenue that they make off users. This deeper integration would give the companies they partner with a more prominent position in the shopping section of their stores. However, the team actually responsible for retail placement has been hesitant to play favorites.
Additionally, these phone makers are still beholden to Google’s rules for what can and cannot be preloaded on devices, though The Information notes that Amazon and the OEMs will have some leeway to get around this.