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Friday, Sep 6
Report: Amazon plans to offer smartphone for free
- Ex-WSJ reporters Amir Efrati and Jessica Lessin state Amazon (AMZN +0.6%), no stranger to subsidizing hardware, is looking to provide its long-expected smartphone for free to consumers.
- However, they add "there are many unanswered questions about the plan and what strings will be attached for customers," such as whether an Amazon Prime subscription will be required.
- Amazon plans to sell the phone through its site, rather than through carriers. The company's smartphone efforts have reportedly been slowed down by a reluctance among manufacturers to anger Google by building a phone running a non-Google version of Android.
- Digitimes and other Taiwanese media sources have been reporting for a while an Amazon smartphone is on the way, but most of their ETAs have already proven to be inaccurate.
- If Amazon prices its phone aggressively, it could tap into a booming market for low-end/mid-range Android hardware, particularly in emerging markets. Of course, its efforts to undercut tablet rivals with the Kindle Fire haven't exactly gone as planned, as a slew of Asian OEMs have come to offer competitively-priced Android tablets (backed by Google services).