Amazon hasn’t given up on smartphones, is working on new “Ice” lineup

Amazon is targeting the budget sector with Ice

Released back in 2014, Amazon’s first smartphone effort, the Fire Phone proved to be a disastrous attempt. Only one month after unveiling the handset, Amazon admitted defeat and proceeded to drastically cut the Fire Phone’s price from $200 to 99 cents (with a 2-year AT&T contract attached to it).

Amazon had high hopes for the Fire Phone, but the mediocre specs, awkward user experience and high price-tag sealed its faith from the get-go.

Remember me?

Three years have passed, wounds have healed and now Amazon appears ready to give smartphones another go. According to two industry sources who talked to NDTV, Amazon is gearing up to make a comeback into the world of smartphones with a new line of “Ice” smartphones.

But instead of targeting the US market, Amazon wants to launch its icy products in developing countries like India. We’re told the phones will come equipped with middle-range specs, as well as Google’s suite of apps including Gmail, Google Play, Google Maps and more. If you remember, the Amazon Fire Phone like the Kindle range of tablets did not come with Google services onboard.

The ill-fated Amazon Fire phone

The two sources apparently already used a test version of one the first Ice smartphones. The prototype includes a 5.2-inch to 5.5-inch display, a Snapdragon 435, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The phone should also include a 13-megapixel rear camera and fingerprint scanner. It should launch with a price tag of approximately $93.

However, the sources noted the Ice smartphone they’ve handled did not come with Amazon’s Alexa assistant onboard. It’s a puzzling move since an affordable phone with the popular virtual helper onboard could give Amazon a competitive advantage in the crowded mobile market. At least the inclusion of Google services sounds like a good idea.

The Ice phone(s) should go on sale by the end of 2017. While US availability wasn’t mentioned in the report, it’s quite possible we’ll see the Ice phones land in the country, as well. Will Ice be able to trump Fire? What do you think?

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