Amazon is reportedly building a new Android phone after its last one flopped

Jeff bezos amazon ceo blue originDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

That seems to be Amazon’s attitude, if a new report is to be believed: The American online retail giant is reportedly building a new phone.

NDTV’s Gadgets360 is reporting, citing “two sources familiar with the matter,” that Amazon is quietly developing a new smartphone codenamed “Ice” that runs Android, Google’s mobile operating system.

The rumoured device would come after the flop of the Fire Phone, Amazon’s last attempt to break into the mobile market. It launched in 2014, running its own software (without Google apps) and attempting to take on Android and Apple’s iOS. But the Fire Phone was badly reviewed and sold poorly, ultimately costing Amazon hundreds of million dollars. The company never bothered to make a second version.

But now Amazon is allegedly having another go at it.

The Ice phone would reportedly be a low-end device, rather than trying to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the iPhone. Gadgets360 reports it’d be aimed at India and other emerging markets, and would cost 6,000 Rs — $US93, or £72.

Purported specs, meanwhile, are a 5.2-inch (or bigger) screen, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a 13MP camera.

Reached for comment, an Amazon spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the report, saying: “As policy, we don’t comment on rumours or speculation.”

Amazon Fire Phone Business InsiderThe Amazon Fire Phone.

It’d be an interesting move for Amazon, given its abject failure last time round. But it doesn’t sound
totally implausible.

The device would undoubtedly come with Amazon apps pre-installed, helping it build its userbase, especially in emerging markets. At the sub-$US100 pricepoint, it’s cheap enough to appeal to people buying their first smartphone — thereby cutting through with its brand and products as soon as possible.

Gadgets360 reports that one of their sources used one of the phones, it didn’t have Amazon’s virtual AI assistant Alexa installed. But that could change — and a smartphone would be a powerful source of data for refining Amazon’s AI tech everywhere from language processing to image recognition.

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