Word around the web is that AT&T
is going to be the exclusive carrier of Amazon's
rumored smartphone, which the online retailer is expected is finally introduce this week (perhaps as early as tomorrow). News of AT&T's reported agreement brings up a sense of déjà vu --the wireless carrier also held an exclusive grip on Apple's popular iPhone handset for nearly the first four years of its existence.
It's an interesting decision for both sides. Assuming the news is accurate, then it's clear AT&T is banking on Amazon's smartphone being just as popular as its Kindle devices. And for Amazon, the incentive to stick with a single carrier must have been a high price tag that AT&T was willing to pay, otherwise it doesn't make much sense for Amazon to leave Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile out in the cold.
Like Amazon's Kindle Fire line, the company's smartphone is expected to be highly customized and perhaps unrecognizable as an Android device. The focus will be on content consumption with a strong tie-in with Amazon's Prime service.
Unlike the Kindle Fire family, however, rumor has it Amazon's first smartphone will sport a 3D display with as many as four front-facing cameras to achieve the effect. It's not known why Amazon is trying to resurrect 3D in the mobile space, though perhaps it will have something to do with online shopping features. For now, all we can do is speculate