Amazon’s first smartphone, slated to be unveiled Wednesday in Seattle, will use AT&T as its exclusive wireless carrier, according to a report this morning in the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous people briefed on the plans.
Depending on how Amazon’s new device is received, the move could be a boon for AT&T. However, going with one carrier out of the gate would also limit the potential market for the new smartphone, making the challenge tougher for Amazon as it attempts to carve out a niche in a market dominated by Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android.
Apple used a similar approach with the launch of the iPhone, but that was at a much earlier phase of the smartphone market.
AT&T and Amazon have an existing partnership for wireless service on Kindle tablets and e-readers, which could give Amazon leverage to offer discounted wireless plans or additional benefits for people who purchase its device.
Amazon’s phone is expected to include 3D visual effects and eye-tracking technology. Amazon has been laying the groundwork for the device in a series of patent filings dating back several years. The company issued a teaser video in which customers reacted with varying degrees of surprise and astonishment to a mystery device in their hands.