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by M.G. Siegler


After Amazon’s Smartphone Failure, it Looks for a Way Back into Mobile

Speaking of… here’s Jay Greene on the reports that Amazon was considering buying Boost Mobile (from Sprint, to help their merger with T-Mobile go through):

If Amazon pursues an acquisition of Boost, it would likely price its phone plans disruptively low and bundle them in some way to drive more Prime memberships, the person familiar with Amazon’s thinking said. The company could offer mobile phones on which its Alexa service features prominently. That might mean taking another stab at making its own phones, or cutting deals with manufacturers to put Alexa front-and-center on their devices.

Even before the Fire Phone launched and failed, I’ve long thought the notion of a “Prime Phone” from Amazon was a much more compelling proposition. Also:

“Alexa is doing great in my connected home,” Goertz said. “But the minute I step outside of my connected home, Alexa abandons me.”
Moreover, the number of Alexa-enabled devices is paltry relative to the number of mobile phones running software from Google and Apple, including their digital-assistant technology. There are more than 3.2 billion phones worldwide running Google’s Android operating system, according to the research firm International Data Corp. In January, Apple said 900 million iPhones were in use globally. And those two companies also have their own voice-activated speakers to compete with Amazon’s Echo business.

It really is wild that Alexa has such a stronghold in the home and yet the moment you step outside, she’s gone. On the flip side, it’s wild that Siri likely has a stronghold outside, and yet the moment you step inside… you use Alexa. This speaks well to Google’s prospects here — having both a home device (that’s actually selling, unlike the misguided one from Appleand a smartphone platform. But it also speaks to the need for Amazon to at least try to do something in the mobile world again. 

Or, at the very least, AlexaPods

Aside: bonus points to Reuters for covering this story with the following line and a seemingly straight face:

It was not immediately clear why the largest U.S. online retailer would want the wireless network and spectrum.

Nope, not clear at all. A total mystery.


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