If Bloomberg reports are true, Amazon might be manufacturing its own smartphone and will viciously compete against Apple, Google and even Microsoft for palm share. Here are five ways Amazon’s entry into the smartphone space could potentially play out.
1) Android likely would take the biggest hit
To date, the most meaningful competitor to the iPad has been the Kindle Fire. This tablet uses a stripped down variation of Android, although the few thousand apps available are purchased via the Amazon Appstore not Google Play. An Amazon smartphone – branded as a Kindle or something else – may continue to use the Android variation. More likely, Amazon could cut the cord on Android and use its own storefront for apps and services.
2) Developers will have to create yet another version of their apps
As if developers did not have enough platforms to market their applications! Regardless of whether Amazon continues to use Android or not, developers will be compelled to create titles for the new platform. While this will add to development costs and resources, the upside is that Amazon smartphone and tablet apps will have less variations than what is found currently on Android smartphones and tablets. Long-term, developers may prioritize creating apps for Amazon over Android.
3) Conflicts between Apple and Amazon will intensify
If you thought things were tense between Apple and Amazon when the App Store stopped allowing Kindle content subscriptions, just wait. Amazon getting into the smartphone space would represent the most meaningful competition to date. While the iTunes App Store would still likely continue to market and accept new submissions from Amazon, Apple won’t make it easy. You will likely see more of a mutually assured destruction relationship between the two companies as it relates to app releases (similar to how Apple and Google currently work with each other).
4) Breadcrumbs left for Microsoft and RIM
While Microsoft has made inroads over the last year with more than 100,000 apps available for Windows phones, Amazon’s ascension into the smartphone space would consume a lot of oxygen and make it extremely difficult for its neighbor in Redmond, Wash. to become a peer with Apple and Google in the app space.
5) Expect more iOS devices to flood the zone
Apple is expected to market a smaller, cheaper version of the iPad as early as this October. Once the company cracks the seal on having multiple form factors for an iDevice in the market at the same time, the next step would be to do the same for the iPhone and have top-of-the-line and discount versions available simultaneously. Could Amazon (or anyone) really compete with that? Stay tuned.