Written by Jonny Williamson
Since its release in the US in November, 2011, Amazon’s Kindle Fire has rapidly grown to become the leading Android-based tablet, outselling the next in line, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab range, by more than three to one. Other models eclipsed by the Kindle Fire’s runaway success are the Motorola Xoom, the Asus Transformer and Toshiba’s AT100, with a combined share of the market less than 20 percent.
To build on this achievement, many analysts are suggesting Amazon is likely to release its own Kindle smartphone built upon a similar design and features which have seen the Kindle Fire become so readily adopted.
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The Kindle Fire runs on a tailored adaptation of Google’s Android operating system, designed around Amazon’s cloud services offering users easy, direct access to Amazon’s huge online store and shopping services, providing eBooks, music and movies, among others.
Aapo Markkaen, an analyst for global technology researchers, has put forward the claim that being able to sell its smartphone through its homepage is a unique advantage for Amazon, with millions of users around the world visiting the site daily:
“The lock-in effect of a great content eco-system shouldn’t be underestimated. If Amazon builds up a sizeable customer base for its devices, and many of those customers find its content offerings appealing enough, then that would mean a tougher market environment for Apple, as well.”
The smartphone would no doubt have a focus on Amazon content, much like its eReader and tablet range, and could put additional pressure on low-end Android equivalents, however it is likely the company would struggle if it decides to go up against established, more complex smartphones, such as those produced by Apple, Samsung and Blackberry.
The online retail giant has so far not made any comment, neither confirming nor denying a smartphone is in development.