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With the release of a new YouTube video hyping a pending announcement from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Seattle-based online retail giant finally appears ready to introduce its oft-rumored smartphone.
The video doesn’t reveal that it’s a smartphone, but that’s the assumption widely being made around the Web. It shows people looking down at something and interacting with the device by moving their bodies around. That seems to line up with an April report that said the phone would offer "seemingly three-dimensional images without special glasses." The phone will supposedly offer technology that tracks your retina in a series of front-facing sensors, capable of making some images 3-D-like, much like a hologram.
Why is this the right time for Amazon to unveil a smartphone? You might argue that the company should’ve done so a while ago.
“Key mobile players Apple, Facebook and Google have entered, or are planning to enter, the e-commerce space which Amazon dominates," noted Ronan de Renesse, principal analyst with Analysys Mason. “This is therefore in part a defensive strategy."
de Renesse points out that while you can access Amazon apps on most smartphones and tablets, they don’t benefit from a level of consumer engagement seen on Amazon’s own devices, such as the Kindle Fire tablet. Integration between the services and devices will drive much more revenue for Amazon.
“Amazon already possesses many of the assets needed to successfully launch a smartphone: a known brand, the ability to offer quality devices at a lower cost than most competitors, a powerful distribution channel, and an existing ecosystem of content and services," de Renesse added.
Expect pricing and release-date details to come out on June 18. For the most part, Amazon has given its tablets prices lower than the industry average; we’ll see if that holds true for its new smartphone.
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