Amazon has issued a statement, quelling rumours of it ever giving away a smartphone for free. Specifically, the company released a statement to the Wall Street Journal that it would not be offering a phone at all this year, and that if the company ever launched a phone in the future, it would not be free.
Rumours were fuelled by a Web page report by former Wall Street Journal tech writer Jessica Lessin that Amazon appeared to have intentions of providing its smartphone for free (when it became available), and instead more likely would require users to sign up for an $80 annual subscription to services such as Amazon Prime in exchange for the phone. In other words, a similar setup to how current mobile carriers offer phones in conjunction with a two-year contract. In this instance, the contract would not be with a carrier.
This strategy would have been plausible simply by going on Amazon’s handling of its Kindle Fire line of tablet devices – which many have argued were sold at, or even below, production and distribution costs – to serve as a sales platform for Amazon media products.
Rumours about Amazon working on its own smartphone have circulated for a while now, some say going back two years when the first generation Kindle Fire tablet devices were introduced to the market.
It was also revealed that Amazon had been testing a wireless network in Cupertino earlier this year, which helped flame the rumours.
Many industry commentators have taken to reading into the company’s specification of ‘this year’ as a possible indicator that a device could well be in development, but may just not be ready yet.
It’s the strongest position that Amazon has taken so far on the matter, and the company’s statement shows that it is concerned about keeping control over perceptions of its consumer electronics arm.