WASHINGTON- Amazon’s mystery unveiling Wednesday is widely expected to be a smartphone, which if managed well could shake up the market and boost the US online giant as a device maker.
The company has given few hints, inviting a small group of media to the event to be hosted by Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.
The announcement contained an image of what appeared to be the edge of a smartphone — a device long rumored to be in the works by the Seattle, Washington firm, which is a retailer of a multitude of goods and digital content.
“If it is a smartphone, Amazon would automatically be considered one of the top players before it even ships its first phone,” said Gerry Purdy, chief mobile analyst for Compass Intelligence.
Purdy said Amazon’s market clout, large customer base and willingness to sell devices at low profit margins gives the company an opportunity to get a foothold in this key segment.
“They have a lot of tools,” Purdy told AFP. “They can give free access to content, access to music, or they could credit your monthly phone bill if you spend enough with Amazon.”
Amazon has worked to keep customers close with its Amazon Prime subscription service, for $99 a year. This gives consumers free delivery for goods, as well as access to Amazon’s streaming video service. Last week, the company added streaming music for no additional charge.
But Amazon still needs to deliver a high-quality handset and offer enough apps to compete with the popular devices from Apple and makers such as Samsung which use the Google Android platform.