Foxconn International is manufacturing a smartphone for Amazon that will launch sometime in the second or third quarter of 2013 at a price in the $100–200 range. As many as 5 million units are expected to be shipped during the first year of production.
Amazon is a world-class competitor that has been not just successful, but actually disruptive in just about every market it has entered, including retail, publishing, consumer electronics and cloud storage. We would not be surprised to see it become a top player in the handset game before long, provided it focuses the requisite attention and capital on this effort. Based on its track record, we believe it will do whatever it takes to become a leader in the field. In fact, Amazon already has a leg up in this effort, as it maintains a successful and well-stocked app store of its own. Our “guess” is that the new devices will carry the Kindle designation, allowing Amazon to also leverage a highly recognizable brand name.
Developments in the device market related to the impending new product launches from RIM and Amazon could bode extremely well for mobile operators. But the latter must provide considerable support to both, for doing so can help operators gain some parity with the current dominant suppliers of mobile devices/operating systems. Simply put, it is time to break the Apple/Google duopoly.