Following the Fire Phone debacle in 2014, Amazon turned to subsidizing phones that were otherwise Android save for pre-installed apps and customizations. A new rumor suggests that Amazon is developing another branded smartphone, but with access to the Play Store.
According to India’s Gadgets360, the company has plans for a new lineup of phones for emerging markets. Branded as “Ice,” these devices would critically be blessed with Google Mobile Services and have apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, and the Play Store.
The Fire Phone ran a heavily skinned version of Android that did not have any Google services, or access to the broader Android app ecosystem. Featuring a 3D-like interface, the phone was ultimately a flop that Amazon abandoned in 2015.
One device currently being tested has a Snapdragon 435 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. There is a rear 13-megapixel camera, as well as a fingerprint sensor on the backside. It is running Android 7.1.1 with Google Assistant confirmed to be available.
Pricing for this phone is expected to be around Rs 6,000 ($93), with Amazon planning at least one device launch in India for this year.
It would be interesting to see whether Amazon preloads its own app store, while clients for its music, video, and photo services are likely a shoo-in. It’s also possible that Alexa will also be accessible on the device by launch.