Amazon Aims to Put Fire Phone Nightmare Behind With 'Ice' Smartphones
Unlike the Fire Phone — for which Amazon focused largely on the US and a couple of other western markets — the company is eyeing emerging markets like India for selling its new phones, said the sources.
Amazon's upcoming smartphones run the latest version of Google’s Android operating system with Google Mobile Services (GMS) such as Gmail and Google Play, the people said.
Incorporating Google Mobile Services in its devices is a major change in strategy for Amazon, which currently offers a range of Android tablets without Google apps on them.
The smartphones are being referred to as 'Ice' internally, in what could be a move to distance itself from the disastrous Fire Phone brand, though it's not clear if Amazon will eventually bring the devices under the Ice name. Amazon declined to comment.
The company plans to launch at least one smartphone in India within this year, said one source.
One of the devices being tested features a display between 5.2-inch and 5.5-inch. Other specifications of the phone include a 13-megapixel rear-camera, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. The phone runs Android 7.1.1 and comes with Google's AI Assistant, said a source cited above. The phone, which houses a Snapdragon 435 SoC and a fingerprint scanner on the back, is likely to be priced at around Rs 6,000 (roughly $9:relievedface:, though the exact price will depend upon the time of launch.
The person, who has seen and used the device, said the phone didn't have Alexa on it. Alexa is Amazon's AI-powered digital assistant that you can find on Echo speakers, as well as some refrigerators and other consumer devices.
The phone runs a software build that isn't finalised yet, and Alexa could make it to the device by the time of launch, the person said.