S07E05 - Amazon Fire Phone & Open Source Android

This week the team talk about the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and a recent beneficiary of that platform - Amazon and their new Fire Phone (like their Kindle tablets before). This week's discussion is kicked off with a (pre-announcement) blog post about an Amazon smartphone from an influential analyst's blog.

The team discuss the background and usage of AOSP and consider how firm's like Amazon are using it to build alternative's to 'Google's Android', substituting replacement services for app stores, notifications, media and mapping to build or promote their own ecosystems.

The Talking Point

Rafe's on point this week, highlighting a pre-official announcement blog post by consumer technology analyst Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research, about the Amazon Fire Phone and 'why it makes sense'. The post makes several arguments:

  1. Amazon needs a storefront on mobile
  2. The role of m-commerce is increasing
  3. Content is migrating to the new screens digital devices provide

Jan assesses Amazon's (then anticipated) move as sensible but challenging:

...it makes strategic sense for Amazon to get into the smartphone business, but none of it justifies unrealistic expectations for early sales of such a smartphone. The reality is that this is a crowded market, with two dominant players and a slew of others, and Amazon will have an uphill battle ahead of it.

The Chat

Ewan says he wants Amazon to shake the market up... hard. The Fire Phone is an opening shot he believes and is more significant as a statement of intent than in what it delivers right now.

Rafe says Amazon's playing a reverse eco-system play here... building the services and media offerings before adding the hardware as it's needed.

Ben says the Fire Phone is a vanity project (for now). The Kindle tablets brought customers into the Amazon world but with far more people own smartphones now and the complex '3D-like' display is no more than novelty.

The Survey

Tell us what you think - we'll report the results in a future episode. If you want to say more, leave us a comment below this post!