“With the clear success of the Kindle e-Reader over the past 3 years, and Kindle Fire possibly succeeding in the low-priced Tablet market, we view this as the next logical step for Amazon,” write Citigroup analysts Mark Mahaney and Kevin Chang, according to a Reuters report.
If it happens, an Amazon-branded smartphone would throw a new twist into a market that was upended first by Apple’s iPhone and then by Google’s Android. A move by Amazon into the market could also complicate matters for Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which is jocking for the No. 3 position.
Amazon has so far put its weight behind Android through its own Android Appstore, and by basing the Kindle Fire on the Android platform.
The Citigroup analysts aren’t the only ones speculating about this possibility. The topic was raised by Dan Rosen, a Seattle angel investor, during the WTIA Predictions dinner last night, moderated by GeekWire’s John Cook.
“I think the next thing they will leverage their Prime accounts with .. is a mobile phone service,” said Rosen, referring to Amazon’s $79/year Amazon Prime subscription service. “I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t do that. They can become the largest reseller of mobile phones, in no time.
He added, “And, it is not Android. It is going to be the Amazon operating system, maybe based on Android code. They are aiming to take good control of a number of markets.”