or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Amazon could build smartphones, MP3 players to compete with Apple
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Amazon could build smartphones, MP3 players to compete with Apple

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
In addition to building the Kindle e-reader, Amazon's internal hardware labs have also explored the possibility of creating other portable devices, such as a media player or smartphone.

The options remain on the table, sources told The New York Times, as Amazon is interested in making devices that would make it easy for customers to purchase content from the online retailer. It's an approach that has resulted in great success for Apple, which sells content from the iTunes Music Store and App Store for its own portable devices.

But there's one key difference: While Amazon is at its core a content provider, Apple has repeatedly stated that it does not make a great deal of money from selling content. The Cupertino, Calif., company has long maintained that the App Store and iTunes Music Store are not meant to be major profit generators, but instead aim to attract customers to the iPhone and iPod ecosystems.

Known as "Lab 126," Amazon's hardware division is responsible for the Kindle e-ink-based reader. But recently, Lab 126 has also been looking into other devices it could potentially create and sell.

One person said Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos originally created Lab 126 with the intention of creating other devices, including "music players and other electronics." Even a smartphone is on the table, author Nick Bilton wrote, though it was said that the project seems "out of Amazon's reach" at the moment. The online retailer reportedly has not ruled out the prospect of competing with Apple's iPhone or Google Android handsets.

"Internally, Amazon executives have been frustrated with other companies aggressively entering the digital content business, and one person with direct knowledge of the company's plans said executives there were prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure Amazon remained a major player in the sale of digital content,"

Amazon is currently looking to expand Lab 126, and is looking to hire a number of new employees. The team recently released a redesigned Kindle with an improved 6-inch e-ink display and a starting price of $139.



Earlier this year, Apple entered the e-book market and began to compete with Amazon in the digital reader space when it released the iPad and its accompanying iBookstore. The iBooks application was later released for devices running iOS 4 as well, including newer generations of the iPhone and iPod touch.

Amazon has also hedged its bets and also offers e-book reading software for other platforms, including Apple's iPad. Using Amazon's "Whispersync" technology, users can begin a book on one device, like a Kindle, and then pick up right where they left off on another device, like the iPad.

Amazon introduced its own MP3 store in 2007, bringing DRM-free music at a time when it was not offered by Apple's iTunes. Earlier this year, it was alleged that Apple attempted to pressure music labels into abandoning the "MP3 Daily Deal" promotion from Amazon, which features timed exclusives for popular tracks.
post #2 of 49
Excellent! When there is more competition, the consumer wins. It'll be interesting to see if Amazon actually produces other desirable gadgets.

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

Reply
post #3 of 49
Good luck with that. Just because Apple makes 'success' look easy, everyone thinks they can do the same!
post #4 of 49
Amazon doesn't have the money, resource and talent to go in the hardware business.

Not only are they going to lose, they're going to go out of business.
post #5 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

Excellent! When there is more competition, the consumer wins.

True, however the world does not need another smartphone operating system.

Today there are already six major ones: iOS, BlackBerry, Android, Windows, webOS, and Symbian. Realistically, the smartphone ecosystem can support three or four in regard to manufacturing, marketing, technical support, third-party application development and end user experience. My guess is in the next five years, one of these operating systems will evaporate and one will be virtually stagnant.
post #6 of 49
Just imagine how long an e-ink cellphone would hold its charge for.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Amazon introduced its own MP3 store in 2007, bringing DRM-free music at a time when it was not offered by Apple's iTunes.

Still waiting for this is expand beyond the US. Apple took a year, I think, to open the iTunes store beyond America; Amazon's had 3, with no progress in sight. This applies to Android too: it's a global marketplace, and provincialism is going to hurt.
post #8 of 49
the difference is Apple uses content as a means to sell hardware, while Amazon is trying to use devices as a means to sell content. The better margins and profits are in Apple' approach.
post #9 of 49
Cool! I could buy a smartphone or MP3 player that compete with Apple...but why would I? Buy an apple device, and it works. It all just works beautifully for what I need.

That said, my wife's Nook is a really great one-trick pony. The electronic ink is gogeous, and Apple doesn't make one. the iPad is cool, but you can't read it in direct sunlight. But think about it - the eBook readers are tied directly to the stores, and with the push of a button a sale is made. I just don't beleive Apple's claim the content isn't lucrative. At $10 for an eBook, how much of that is pure profit? Sure, maybe Apple isn't keeping it, but that's a license issue.

eBook readers will soon be free. Maybe "buy 10 eBooks and get a reader gratis" or something. BN is trying to add stuff to the Nook like browsers and games, but that's a huge waste. Make it display a book lightening fast, tie it directly to as many eBook streams as you can (even the library) and you'll rule the world.
post #10 of 49
If Amazon is interested in just content distribution then they can copy Apple and others and create an MP3 player. They can just do what Apple, Dell, HP, and other companies do, buy out a tech company that can design an MP3 player. Apple just designs things. They don't make things.

I doubt that Amazon would enter the phone market unless they bought a telephone company. People don't buy phones for content usage. They are phones that have content usage as a feature. Why buy a phone company and all the crap that goes with it just to deliver more ebooks and MP3s?

Amazon doesn't seem like a tech company to me even with lab 126. The Kindle was a surprise to me when it came out. It made sense though. Did anybody think of Apple as a company that would put out a music player before they did it? Sure they didn't make a portable CD player, they made something different. Still it was not expected. Maybe Amazon can do something like that and succeed.
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

... When there is more competition, the consumer wins. ...

While this is the common wisdom, it isn't necessarily true. Business competition, in and of itself, is, like the competition of natural selection, essentially goalless.
post #12 of 49
... great, we need all the also-rans that we can get.

Who else wants to play? The Barnes and Noble smartphone ...?

Then, next year ... Starbucks Phoniccino!
post #13 of 49
It's just like being at an orchard. Apple plants the trees, cultivates the fruit, and drives the tractor while others jump on the hay wagon and pick the low lying apples and peaches.
post #14 of 49
Yeah, good luck with that. Better bet is to outsource to HP, and brand their Palm OS "device" a Kindlephone, which would have to use little ink cartridges in order to make the screen work (that's the only way HP can make money these days). I love my E-ink Kindlephone (sounds like something you'd buy your toddler for Christmas).
post #15 of 49
It would make a lot more sense for Apple to start selling books!
post #16 of 49
bring. it. on.
post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Good luck with that. Just because Apple makes 'success' look easy, everyone thinks they can do the same!

Exactly. And given that Amazon has zero experience with phones, I see a failure waiting to happen.

The Kindle kind of works and it is due to the fact that some folks just want a reader. not the rest. Not that many probably but enough to make it worth continuing.

Just like with the whole "we'll have our ipad killer out later this year" games, an Amazon phone would likely fail due to be way too late into the game. I can't see them producing something that would wow folks so much that it would bring them off their iphones and Android.

They might be better off trying to get their Kindle software onto devices natively, to put sales of their ebooks. Maybe create an mp3 and/or video software as well. Things that would link right to their online stores.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #18 of 49
It'll either run Android or Meego, can't see them developing their own OS, and they'll prolly do a better job than Microsoft.

iPod nano 5th Gen 8GB Orange, iPad 3rd Gen WiFi 32GB White
MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.66GHz 8GB RAM 120GB Intel 320M
Mac mini Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz 8GB RAM, iPhone 5 32GB Black

Reply

iPod nano 5th Gen 8GB Orange, iPad 3rd Gen WiFi 32GB White
MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.66GHz 8GB RAM 120GB Intel 320M
Mac mini Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz 8GB RAM, iPhone 5 32GB Black

Reply
post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Amazon is currently looking to expand Lab 126, and is looking to hire a number of new employees.

Papermaster is available.
post #20 of 49
I wouldn't count Amazon out. People said Apple couldn't do it either - boy were they wrong. Besides, look at the smartphone landscape, how hard is it to build an iphone clone? lol, not hard at all. Just ask " insert manufacturer of your choice "
post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Papermaster is available.

Papermaster and Hurd.
post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

While this is the common wisdom, it isn't necessarily true. Business competition, in and of itself, is, like the competition of natural selection, essentially goalless.

I'm not sure this really means anything. When a successful company competing in an industry is threatened by another company they will do whatever they can to retain their position. In the case of a product which is competitive with theirs, they will try to retain their advantage by adding or improving features and capabilities so their product remains dominant. There are exceptions, such as established brands who don't need to be competitive because they control an industry, but a competent opponent (e.g. Apple entering both the music player and phone industries) can turn these companies on their heads. Same goes for Apple. Android's success will continue to drive and motivate them to heights they may never have reached before.

Fundamentally, the observation you put down holds sound truth.

All this aside, I do doubt Amazon's ability to compete in certain industries like the phone market.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
Reply
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
Reply
post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

Yeah, good luck with that. Better bet is to outsource to HP, and brand their Palm OS "device" a Kindlephone, which would have to use little ink cartridges in order to make the screen work (that's the only way HP can make money these days). I love my E-ink Kindlephone (sounds like something you'd buy your toddler for Christmas).


wouldn't be a bad idea, all in all. It would give the whole WebOS thing a lot of content that the hardware needs to drive popularity, and it would let Amazon focus on content delivery and maybe making design reference models to bring to HP. It could work!

2 years minimum, assuming that the corporate cultures didn't clash and there was solid long-term commitment on both sides.

Also, look for HP to expand their use of WebOS in to their hardware footprint, with the rise of corporate virtual desktopping they could leverage Microsoft's cloud appoach to undermine the Windows installed desktop space with Microsoft's own "Office in the Cloud" initiative on dumb microtowers running WebOS. Microsoft would take a hit on the desktop side, but with licensing for Cloud Office apps, would probably prefer that anyway - fewer physical configs to have to think about.
post #24 of 49
Amazon should just partner with Dell, HP, HTC, Motorola, etc.


they have no business going into the Hardware business.
post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Homemadeparachute View Post

Still waiting for this is expand beyond the US. Apple took a year, I think, to open the iTunes store beyond America; Amazon's had 3, with no progress in sight. This applies to Android too: it's a global marketplace, and provincialism is going to hurt.

What on earth are you on about? Amazon's music store is available in the UK, drm free and less than half the price of iTunes on the most popular songs and cheaper overall on all music. What's more you don't have to download a crappy bit of bloated apple software - i.e iTunes to use it! You lot are so wrapped up in your fan boy fantasies.

Also loving all these 'bring it on' comments.... You lot sound like you think you're all soldiers in apple's holy war for god's sake! Surely if amazon come out with some super phone that is objectively thought of as anything better than what apple has to offer (hypothetically, in no way do I think this will ever happen...) then surely you should buy the amazon phone!
post #26 of 49
There's no way this will happen. It doesn't fit Amazon's business model, and it would be a foolish decision.
post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by kernel_panic View Post

There's no way this will happen. It doesn't fit Amazon's business model, and it would be a foolish decision.

Quoted for truth.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
Reply
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
Reply
post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

Excellent! When there is more competition, the consumer wins. It'll be interesting to see if Amazon actually produces other desirable gadgets.

How do you when? By sheer choice and/or a drop in price?
Whatever.
If Amazon does do a phone you really think it'll be anything other than Android?
It'll be an Android device, probably not even sold in America and built by any number of over seas tech folk.
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!
post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post

the difference is Apple uses content as a means to sell hardware, while Amazon is trying to use devices as a means to sell content. The better margins and profits are in Apple' approach.

Exactly.

Plus I don't want to carry a eReader, a browser blah blah multiple devices. That is why I would rather buy the iPad than Amazon's eReader.

Plus Amazon as a high-tech company - no thank you.
post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

True, however the world does not need another smartphone operating system.

Today there are already six major ones: iOS, BlackBerry, Android, Windows, webOS, and Symbian. Realistically, the smartphone ecosystem can support three or four in regard to manufacturing, marketing, technical support, third-party application development and end user experience. My guess is in the next five years, one of these operating systems will evaporate and one will be virtually stagnant.

It's true. Being objective about it, it's hard to pick which one or two will fail because of the six you list they each have their own strengths, each represents a lot at stake for the companies involved and perhaps with the exception of webOS are widely distributed. It might as you say be as much about marketing and third party development as any other factor because a great technical platform for an phone OS is really only the beginning.
post #31 of 49
Amazon should just buy a book publisher, so they can control some of the content they sell. Going into phone business is a straight path to bankruptcy.
post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by eightzero View Post

eBook readers will soon be free. Maybe "buy 10 eBooks and get a reader gratis" or something.

Even for free, I don't want one. I don't want another device to carry, charge, etcespecially if it's a rather limited one trick pony. I'm sure others feel the same way. What does it say about a business model where people don't even want your free electronic gadgets?
post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

Amazon should just buy a book publisher, so they can control some of the content they sell. Going into phone business is a straight path to bankruptcy.

Erm, Amazon has around 30,000,000 listed items under their books section. Buying a publisher wouldn't really have a dramatic effect on what they sell.

And Apple hasn't done too shoddy a job with the phone business.
www.applebitch.com - Honest Apple News & Opinions
Reply
www.applebitch.com - Honest Apple News & Opinions
Reply
post #34 of 49
Yesterday, it was vaporware.

Now it's pre-announcing vaporware.

What's next? Recalling vaporware?
post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by benice View Post

It's true. Being objective about it, it's hard to pick which one or two will fail because of the six you list they each have their own strengths, each represents a lot at stake for the companies involved and perhaps with the exception of webOS are widely distributed. It might as you say be as much about marketing and third party development as any other factor because a great technical platform for an phone OS is really only the beginning.

I think that third-party applications and access to content will be a very important factor to which platforms succeed. Nurturing a good marketplace where developers and content creators get paid appears to be a key concern.

Also, I believe that platforms that diversify beyond smartphones will have a better chance at succeeding. Right now Apple sells two iPod touches for every three iPhones. It appears that they are on target to sell ten million iPads this calendar year since the April launch.

While I am no expert on the industry, I don't see anything shipping in volume that competes with the iPod touch from a competitor. Lots of people claim to be working on iPad competitors, but again, I don't see anything shipping in volume yet.

I would really like to see other companies step up to the plate concerning iPod touch-like personal media players and media tablets.
post #36 of 49
Amazon, as with all of the other wanna-bees including RIM, Google, Nokia and so on, don't seem to understand that you need to have a solid ecosystem in place before you can compete with Apple. The short answer: No chance.
post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post

Amazon, as with all of the other wanna-bees including RIM, Google, Nokia and so on, don't seem to understand that you need to have a solid ecosystem in place before you can compete with Apple. The short answer: No chance.

Exactly: Amazon has no experience selling music, books, or anything else.
post #38 of 49
Load of crap. Who wants an E-Inc smartphone? The only thing I can think of is a deal with Google to make amazon the default music and books provider for their android devices.
--SHEFFmachine out
Da Bears!
Reply
--SHEFFmachine out
Da Bears!
Reply
post #39 of 49
Welcome Amazon, to the fight. Let's see whatcha got
(no, really, I welcome competition!)

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by kernel_panic View Post

There's no way this will happen. It doesn't fit Amazon's business model, and it would be a foolish decision.

Indeed. I'm calling BS on this. Particularly on the Headline claim that Amazon would be doing it to "compete with Apple". In the (unlikely) event Amazon offered their own Smartphone[s] and/or MP3/MP4 Player[s] they would be incredibly foolish to pitch them headfirst into a head-on battle against iPhone/iPod, entrenched successes. Especially since Amazon's goal would ostensibly be opposite to Apple's (Namely, Amazon would be using Hardware to sell Content, Apple does the opposite). The more logical approach would be to take on the budget media players and phones, such as those offered unbranded by Chinese companies. The margins would be small, but the low prices would drive volume which would ultimately be better for Amazon's efforts to sell content

MacBook Pro 15" | Intel Core2 Duo 2.66GHz | 320GB HDD | OS X v10.8
White iPad (3G) with Wi-Fi | 16GB | Engraved | Blue Polyurethane Smart Cover
White iPhone 5 | 64GB | On 3UK

Reply

MacBook Pro 15" | Intel Core2 Duo 2.66GHz | 320GB HDD | OS X v10.8
White iPad (3G) with Wi-Fi | 16GB | Engraved | Blue Polyurethane Smart Cover
White iPhone 5 | 64GB | On 3UK

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Amazon could build smartphones, MP3 players to compete with Apple