Is Amazon building a smartphone?
Yeah, probably. Should you buy it? Probably not.
It’s not that Amazon will build a bad smartphone. It won’t. And it will be aggressively cheap; if this phone costs more than $100, I’m going to be really surprised. Amazon has a good track record with making cheap, useful devices: The Kindle Fire is a good tablet for people who use tablets primarily for reading books and watching movies. But the problem is really that any phone Amazon puts out will essentially be broken from the word go.
Take the Kindle Fire. The Fire is built around Android, but essentially a broken version of Android; it can’t just download apps from the Play Store or otherwise be used like other Android tablets. That’s because Amazon very much wants you to buy books, movies, and music from them.
Worse, Amazon aggressively fights efforts to change the OS on the hardware you bought and own. If you root a Kindle Fire, the next firmware upgrade will “fix” your tablet back to factory specs.
It’s hard to see their smartphone being designed any differently, and since Amazon has a competing App Store, it’ll probably lock out Google’s app store entirely, meaning you’ll have to rebuy any apps you want if you switch. And it’s not like good Android phones are rare or expensive. Better to buy one of those and just use Amazon’s MP3 and Kindle apps than have a phone you’ll have to fight to use “unapproved” apps on.
Amazon Developing Smartphone? [Wired]