Amazon has been in talks with phone makers at a “factory level” to get its services onto Android handsets in place of Google’s, according to a report from The Information.
The company wants to go deeper than pre-loading apps onto phones, which it currently does on some Android handsets. Instead, Amazon has its sights set on getting a third-party to make a phone that resembles the Kindle Fire tablets.
Google currently has rules for Android which prohibit certain types of activity by software makers. The penalty for breaking them is a lack of access to Google’s core services, such as Google Play. Amazon has been working on its own app store, called the Amazon App Store, which has many apps that are available on Google’s store.
The reason for Amazon’s talks are simple: The company wants an expanded presence on mobile — a platform it has traditionally been lacking on, besides shopping — without having to split revenue with Google.
Amazon had a brief foray into making its own phone, called the Fire Phone, that ran a version of Android overlayed with Amazon’s own services. The phone bombed, however, and is no longer available for sale.
Amazon has recently been beefing its smartphone app offerings up, breaking out some features — such as grocery shopping or barcode scanner — into separate apps.
The strategy to get Android users onto Amazon services is also important because iPhone users are currently the most valuable customers. However, emerging markets such as India — which an Amazon executive described as a “trillion-dollar market” — predominantly use Android phones.