Tag Archives: Mobile

Microsoft May Be Making a Smartphone for China

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The latest reports from Asia have resurrected a popular rumor: that Microsoft is planning to launch its own Windows Phone smartphone and initially sell it in China, where smartphone use is exploding. However, with a delicate ecosystem of hardware partners to balance, and huge competition in China, it could be an uphill task for the software giant.

Ever since Microsoft announced its landmark Windows Phone agreement with Nokia, there have been mutterings that the company is thinking about producing its own smartphone. Earlier this month came the clearest sign yet, when the Wall Street Journal quoted officials at Microsoft parts suppliers in Asia as saying that testing had already begun.

Add to this the recent launch of the Microsoft Surface tablet—which showcases the touch-screen capabilities of Windows 8 and RT operating systems—and CEO Steve Ballmer’s recent speculation that the Redmond, Washington–based firm would “obviously” make more hardware, and the case becomes even more compelling.

China is likely to be a key battleground for smartphone makers. IDC recently pegged it as the world’s largest smartphone market, and, unlike the U.S. market, it is still growing. Canalys stats put Q2 shipments at 27% of the world’s total, ahead of the U.S. at 16%. China and Asia have for some years also led in smartphone production—which accounts for Microsoft’s reported testing of the new phone with Asian suppliers.

A low-cost, high-spec smartphone from Microsoft could be popular in China. But the success of such a device will likely depend on how well the American giant partners with local firms to tailor a device for the domestic market.

Microsoft has already failed with a previous smartphone launch, the ill-fated Kin, and its only hardware success to date has been Xbox. Nonetheless, Ovum analyst Tony Cripps argues that it’s quite possible Microsoft is taking the same strategy with the smartphone that it took with its recently launched Surface tablet. “While there were risks involved, Microsoft created Surface, and it made sense to do so. Why not do it again?” he says. “It’s about staying relevant.”

However, IDC analyst Melissa Chau cautions that Redmond could find its options limited by the need to avoid upsetting existing hardware partners, just as Google’s options with its Android-based Motorola phones have been limited. Partners including Acer were somewhat hostile to its Surface launch, and Microsoft cannot afford to alienate the Windows Phone partner ecosystem.

Chau argues that Microsoft‘s testing of the device might be aimed not at a product release but at showing partners the direction it envisions for Windows Phone devices. It’s also possible the device could be kept in reserve as a ”Plan B” in case Nokia’s hardware offerings fail to capture the popular imagination and drive the platform forward, she says.

In any case, Microsoft’s biggest problem is Android. IDC’s preliminary Q3 stats put Android shipments for the period at a record-breaking 136 million units, 75% of all smartphones. Apple’s iOS came in second with 26 million units (14.9%), and Windows Phone shipments totalled 3.6 million units and just 2% of the market. It’s still early days for Microsoft, but with HTC and Samsung both more committed to Android than Windows Phone, only Nokia is left to blaze the trail. Android also has a 77% share of China’s smartphone market, according to Beijing-based analyst Analysys International.

Chau explains that China has the “fastest adoption of high-end specs at cheaper prices.” The most popular devices are slick quad core devices with screen sizes around the 13 cm mark. In the past six months alone, we’ve seen the launch of Huawei’s 11 cm Honor II, at 1,888 yuan ($305); the Xiaomi Phone 2 at 1,999 yuan ($310); ZTE’s U950 at 999 yuan ($160); and Meizu’s MX 4-core, which now retails at 2,399 yuan ($380). “They’re not innovating, but there’s an appetite for this type of hardware we don’t see in other countries,” she explains.

Local handset makers—both big brands and the huge number of smaller, low-margin “white box” producers—are also targeting the sub-1,000 yuan ($160) market with gusto, aware that the huge installed base of feature-phone users in countries like China and India will soon be looking to upgrade to a smartphone.

Canalys reckons that by 2015 almost half of Chinese smartphones will be handsets under $200. The Lenovo A65 recently came down from around 1,000 yuan ($160) in Q4 2011 to around 700 yuan ($112) in the first quarter of this year, for example.

What these handsets and more high-end devices have in common, in China at least, is that the user interface and services preloaded onto them are localized for the Chinese market. When it comes to Web services, the Chinese government’s rigorous approach to online censorship has meant that some sites Western users take for granted, like Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube, are virtually pointless to have on a smartphone.

Chinese users need Youku instead of YouTube, Sina Weibo instead of Twitter, RenRen instead of Facebook and Taobao instead of eBay—and Baidu, not Google, is favored by around 80% of the search market, even on Android devices.

Some Chinese handset makers, Web companies, and mobile operators have gone a step further and built their own mobile operating systems, although success has been limited so far. Baidu (with its Yi platform), e-commerce giant Alibaba (Aliyun), Xiaomi (MIUI), and others hope that their operating systems will drive more users to their services and “build fences and drive stakes into the ground” in the country’s fast-growing mobile market, according to a recent IDC report.

Although big names including Motorola, Huawei, HTC and Samsung have plants in countries such as Vietnam, India and Malaysia, and while Foxconn recently unveiled plans for a huge factory in Indonesia, the majority of smartphone production remains in China. Most of the big Taiwanese companies, including Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron and Compal, have plants producing for most of the world’s biggest tech brands, including Apple, HP, Samsung, Dell, Nokia and, of course, Microsoft.

Thanks to government subsidies, low wages, good infrastructure and, most important, a centralized supply chain, China remains the No. 1 location for smartphone manufacturing, with the focus having spread from the historical center of the tech world, in the Pearl River Delta around Shenzhen, to new hubs in Chengdu, Chongqing, Henan province, and elsewhere as more local governments offer financial incentives.

In the end, whatever Microsoft’s plans are in the smartphone space, it and every other Western tech giant needs to get used to a new reality—if you want to succeed in the 21st-century global smartphone market, you need to pivot towards Asia.

Image courtesy of Flickr, okalkavan

This article originally published at MIT Technology Review
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/13/microsoft-smartphone-china/

Phone Predicts Where You’re Going

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Beyond merely tracking where you’ve been and where you are, your smartphone might soon actually know where you are going — in part by recording what your friends do.

Researchers in the U.K. have come up with an algorithm that follows your own mobility patterns and adjusts for anomalies by factoring in the patterns of people in your social group (defined as people who are mutual contacts on each other’s smartphones).

The method is remarkably accurate.

In a study on 200 people willing to be tracked, the system was, on average, less than 20 meters off when it predicted where any given person would be 24 hours later. The average error was 1,000 meters when the same system tried to predict a person’s direction using only that person’s past movements and not also those of his friends, says Mirco Musolesi, a computer scientist at the University of Birmingham who led the study.

He cautions that the 200 participants might not reflect the general population — they all lived within 30 miles of Lausanne, Switzerland, and were mainly “students, researchers and people that are fairly predictable anyway.” Even so, he says, the findings were noteworthy because “we are essentially exploiting the synchronized rhythm of the city” for greater predictive insights.

Although it is still a research prototype, the prediction algorithm, described in this paper, could be a boon to mobile network operators if it proves more widely applicable. These companies already possess such data and could use it to provide a sharper recommendations or ads for restaurants or shops near locations where you are likely to go. Musolesi’s group is planning to build a developer platform based on the algorithm.

This paper was part of a Nokia-sponsored Mobile Data Challenge, at which the Birmingham group won 3,000 euros for their work. Other papers from the contest can be found here. All the projects drew on the same smartphone dataset from the 200 volunteers, who agreed to have their location, communication patterns, app usage, and other metrics tracked over an 18-month period ending in 2011.

To explain how your friends’ patterns can be used to refine predictions about you, Musolesi gave this example: If Susan goes from home to the gym every Tuesday at 7 p.m. following a certain route, a prediction algorithm based only on her past movements might be thrown off on a certain Tuesday when she makes a side trip to the mall. But by noticing that her close friends Joe and Bob are in their usual hangouts that day, Musolesi’s algorithm can determine that Susan is highly likely to go to the gym after finishing her mall errand.

Habits and patterns of friends are highly correlated, meaning there will be enough noise-free information from the friends’ mobility patterns to extrapolate from them. Naturally, the predictions can be refined even more when two people often spend time with each other, but such “mutual information” is not required for a friend’s information to be useful.

The research grew out of a mid-2000s reality mining project, also sponsored by Nokia, that sought to glean insights about social interactions from personal devices. That work took place before the current smartphone boom. “It is exciting to see the project flesh out some of the hints and preliminary results we’ve seen in our earlier projects. This field is really moving toward being practical,” said Alex “Sandy” Pentland, director of the MIT’s Human Interactions Lab, referring to all of the research done on the Lausanne data.

He added that progress in the field — together with the many commercial efforts that already extensively mine and leverage personal data — makes it even more crucial for companies, governments and researchers to follow a personal data privacy and usage framework developed at Davos last year.

?Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, gremlin?

This article originally published at MIT Technology Review
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/09/phone-predicts-future-location/

Lighter-Than-Air Material Could Drastically Change Tech

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German scientists have developed a sturdy material called Aerographite made mostly of air, opening up huge implications for the future development of electronics.

The jet-black, non-transparent porous carbon material — which was created by scientists at Kiel University and Hamburg University of Technology — was detailed in the July edition of scientific journal Advanced Materials.

Since Aerographite is electrically conductive and so lightweight, the scientists hope it could be used in the future as lightweight batteries. They believe these small batteries could be used in green transportation such as electronic cars and e-bikes in the future.

It weighs in at 0.2 milligrams for each cubic centimeter, making it the lightest material in the world. It’s lighter than a nickel material that was presented to the public about six months ago.

The news comes as researchers last year at the University of California Irvine developed a material as strong as metal while 100 times lighter than Styrofoam.

“Our work is causing great discussions in the scientific community. Aerographite weights four times less than world-record-holder up to now,” Matthias Mecklenburg, co-author and Ph.D. student at the TUHH, said on Kiel University’s website.

Made by developing a linked chain of carbon nanotubes onto a zinc-oxide template, it is extremely resilient. If you were to compress Aerographite, it would bounce back to its natural state without any damage. Most other materials weaken when they undergo such stress.

“It is able to be compressed up to 95% and be pulled back to its original form without any damage,” said Professor Rainer Adelung of Kiel University. “Up to a certain point, the Aerographite will become even more solid and therefore stronger than before. Also, the newly constructed material absorbs light rays almost completely. One could say it creates the blackest black.”

How do you think this new material will impact the tech world? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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What to Expect From Apple’s iPhone 5 Event

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Here we go again: About a year ago Mashable ran a story with almost the exact same headline as this one. In October 2011, Apple unveiled its fifth-generation iPhone to the world, except it wasn’t called the iPhone 5. It was the iPhone 4S, an incremental update that had been predicted, although that was after many months of wild speculation.

Sound familiar? We’ve been hearing for months that we’ll see the iPhone 5 this fall. Except this time it’s the real deal — when Apple sent out invitations for its Sept. 12 event, the shadow of the “12” was clearly made to look like the number five, with the accompanying caption “it’s almost here.” As my colleague Chris Taylor observed, that may not be letting the cat out of the bag, but it’s kind of making the bag transparent.

By all reports, when we finally see the real iPhone 5 (technically Apple’s sixth iPhone), it’s going to be the biggest redesign of the product since Steve Jobs unveiled the first model way back in January 2007. It’s also going to be the most lucrative for the company, if past history is any indication — every new iPhone has outsold the previous by a wide margin.

THE LATEST: iPhone 5 Unveiled | iPhone 5 vs. Competitors | More of iOS 6 | Thinner iPod Nano | iPod Touch With Siri | New iTunes | New iPhone Dock Connector | New Earbuds, EarPods

But what features is iPhone 5 expected to have, and what else will be on deck for the event? Only Apple knows for sure, but based on online chatter, which has converged over the past few weeks, we can make some educated guesses. Here’s what’s (likely) on tap for Apple’s big iPhone show:

The Skinny on iPhone 5

The star of this event is obviously the iPhone 5, which reportedly brings a new design to the iPhone to accommodate a different-size screen. Reports and leaked images point to the new model sporting a 4-inch screen with an aspect ratio that will make the display longer. That would allow for five rows of apps (plus the “permanent” row on the bottom). The supplier is rumored to be Sharp.

Besides the large screen, the biggest new feature on the iPhone 5 will be LTE connectivity. There’s simply no way Apple won’t include this feature, and it’s been all but confirmed through leaked images of the phone’s motherboard and other reports. Add to that the simple fact that, thanks to progress, the design compromises necessary for LTE that Tim Cook used to be worried about have been largely eliminated.

So the iPhone 5 will have LTE, but what networks will it run on? Since there are versions of the iPad that run on Verizon and AT&T’s LTE networks, you can bet solidly on those being included, but Sprint looks just slightly less sure. If it’s so equipped, it will be Apple’s first LTE Sprint product. That said, Sprint just launched nationwide LTE on Monday, so the network is ready and waiting.

There’s been a lot of buzz around Apple shrinking the dock connector on future iOS devices, and it looks like the iPhone 5 will be the first one with a smaller, 19-pin jack. The current 30-pin dock connector is a holdover from the iPhone’s predecessor, the iPod (although the first iPods were FireWire-only). It’s also fairly large as connectors go — certainly compared with the micro USB ports on many of today’s phones — and its imminent replacement is likely a move to ensure Apple can make the iPhone even thinner than it is already.

One feature you can probably not expect in the iPhone 5 is near-field communication (NFC), which can enable mobile payments and effortless “touch” pairing with devices like Bluetooth earpieces (as long as they have NFC, too). While many Android phones now include it, Apple is said to be skipping the feature in iPhone 5. If that’s true, it’s probably because it’s still a relatively unknown (and unused) feature for many users, and Apple’s waiting to put its own mobile-payment strategy in place before including NFC.

Some rumors say Apple will make another dramatic improvement to a long-standing holdover from the iPod days — the widely derided earbuds that come with every iPhone. Apple could replace them with a new vented in-ear design, but there’s not much to go on here other than a patent Apple filed in April this year.

Finally, there’s the on-sale date, which we can say with almost complete certainty will be Sept. 21. When Apple unveils something on a Wednesday, the most common release date is the following Friday (almost every iPhone has launched on a Friday). Since all rumors indicate the iPhone 5 is now in production and about to ship, Sept. 21 must be the day.

Supporting Characters

New iPods: Apple’s September events have traditionally been about the iPod line, and there hasn’t been a significant upgrade to the lines since 2010. The iPod Touch typically mirrors design changes in the iPhone, so there’s a strong possibility of a new model with a larger screen and even thinner design. New iPod Nanos and Shuffles sporting the new dock connector are also possibilities.

iOS 6: Apple already unveiled iOS 6 back at its spring event, but now it’s ready for prime time. Apple will no doubt announce its general availability, which could be as early as today. There will also be some more detail on the features, Siri’s new abilities, and maybe even a small update about OS X Mountain Lion — we’re still waiting for that Facebook integration, after all.

Sprint iPad: Sprint didn’t get an invitation to Apple’s iPad unveiling in the spring, but that was before it had a full-fledged LTE network. Apple could finally let Sprint into the iPad club with a 4G LTE model today, though even if that’s in the works, the two companies might be saving it for another Apple event later in the fall.

One More Thing… Doubtful

That event being the unveiling of the iPad Mini, a smaller-screen version of the iPad. There have been a lot of rumors and alleged leaks about this product, so it’s extremely likely it exists, although most signs say the li’l iPad will headline its own show sometime in October. And the chance of a new Apple TV (either box or actual set) being unveiled tomorrow looks very small.

Still, you never know. Tim Cook could unveil one of those spider-like iPhone 5 wrist creatures. Or he could just walk out, shout “Syke!” and gleefully tell the world there will be no new iPhones this year before maniacally laughing as he exits the stage.

But probably not. As much as Cook promised to “double down” on secrecy last spring, Apple is the most scrutinized company in tech — if not the world — and that’s why we already know a good amount of what the iPhone 5 will be. We don’t know everything, though, and Apple will surely surprise us with a new treat, even if it’s minor.

What do you think it will be? Shout out your predictions in the comments.

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New NASA Satellites Have Android Smartphones for Brains

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NASA is aiming to launch a line of small satellites called “PhoneSats” that are cheaper to make and easier to build than those it has produced in the past. To achieve this, engineers are using unmodified Android smartphones — in one prototype, HTC’s Nexus One, and in another, Samsung’s Nexus S — to perform many of a satellite’s key functions.

As NASA explains on its website, these off-the-shelf smartphones “offer a wealth of capabilities needed for satellite systems, including fast processors, versatile operating systems, multiple miniature sensors, high-resolution cameras, GPS receivers and several radios.”

“This approach allows engineers to see what capabilities commercial technologies can provide, rather than trying to custom-design technology solutions to meet set requirements,” NASA adds.

The total cost for building one of these prototype satellites costs a mere $3,500. Three are expected to launch aboard the first flight of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket from a NASA flight facility at Wallops Island, Va., later this year.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/08/26/nasa-satellites-android/

LeapBand Is the First Activity Tracker for Kids

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The LeapBand is the first activity tracker for kids.
Image: LeapFrog

Kids love to get their hands on the tech their parents have — tablets, smartphones, cameras, cars — so it’s only natural they’d want what every adult seems to be tinkering with these days: fitness trackers. And with the wearables market heating up, it makes sense that the toy industry is ready to ride the wristband wave too.

The LeapBand (manufactured by toy company LeapFrog) is a watered down version of what you might see in an adult fitness tracker — the Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike+ Fuelband (RIP) devices of the world. It monitors and rewards kids for the activities they do and has a Tamagotchi-like virtual pet baked in. The more a child moves, the more points they earn to unlock new games or win treats for their on-screen cat, dog, dragon, penguin, panda or unicorn.

The LeapBand ($39), which hits stores in August, is specifically designed for kids ages 4 to 7. It comes with a built-in accelerometer, a rechargeable battery and a high-resolution (128 x 128) screen, with backlighting. It will be available in three flavors (pink, blue and green) and is made of plastic.

LeapFrog is best known for its tablets for children (the LeapPad line), so it’s fitting that it’s among the first toy companies to enter the wearables space. Earlier this year, VTech announced the world’s first smartwatch for kids, the KidiZoom Smart Watch. Although it doesn’t connect to the Internet like its adult-counterpart smartwatches (so it’s not technically a “smartwatch”), the 1.4-inch touchscreen device allows young users to snap photos, take video and play games directly through the watch. The device will hit the market this fall.

The growth of toys like this comes at a time when wearables as a tech category is still in its infancy, but it’s believed that the rumored Apple iWatch will launch wearables into the mainstream.

The iWatch is projected to have a huge fitness component; not only will it have a heart-rate monitor and other ways to track your body in real time, it will likely come with Nike’s Fuelband software built into the device.

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Sandy Prompts FCC Hearings on Communications Outages

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The Federal Communications Commission announced on Wednesday it will hold field hearings examining ways to keep communications systems up and running during natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy.

Lawmakers called for probes into communications outages after Sandy left as much as 25% of cell sites in its path inoperable when it hit the East Coast in October.

“This unprecedented storm has revealed new challenges that will require a national dialogue around ideas and actions to ensure the resilience of communications networks,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

The hearings will start in 2013, with the first round in New York and continuing in other disaster-prone areas of the country.

In the wake of Sandy, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for the FCC to determine where system weaknesses exist and develop plans to make communications networks more resilient.

“Field hearings will increase our understanding of the problems encountered during Superstorm Sandy and harvest the best ideas to ensure that mobile phone service doesn’t fail after future storms,” he said in a statement after the FCC announced the hearings. “Mobile communication has become an essential part of our lives, and increasing its reliability must be a top priority.”

Several House Democrats have also called for a congressional hearing on the issue.

Harold Feld, senior vice president at the consumer group Public Knowledge, said he hopes the outages will lead to federal standards for communications networks.

“Hopefully, the experience with Sandy underscores how dependent we as a nation have become on these networks, and that the federal government does indeed have a role in setting minimum standards for preparedness and response,” he said.

Image courtesy of Flickr, edenpictures

This article originally published at National Journal
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/21/sandy-fcc-outages/

Why an Amazon Phone Makes Sense

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Image: Mashable composite. iStock, webphotography

Amazon is holding an event in Seattle in a couple of weeks, and everyone’s invited. Really — anyone in the world can theoretically sign up, although the company says space is limited.

Democratizing a tech launch event — typically a very insider-y affair — is an uncommon, if gimmicky move, although it suggests that what Amazon has up its sleeve is pretty big. Whatever Amazon will unveil, teased in a comically vague video, will certainly be aimed squarely at a mainstream audience, and the most credible report so far says it’ll be an Amazon-branded smartphone.

Rumors about an Amazon smartphone have circulated since the company unveiled its first Kindle Fire tablets back in 2011. For almost any hardware manufacturer, it makes sense to offer both a tablet and a phone — usually several.

After all, the technologies are virtually identical, so why only make one or the other when you could have a hand in both markets?

Not your father’s Amazon

But Amazon isn’t a typical hardware manufacturer. The company doesn’t make the Kindle Fire tablets because it excels at building devices — it makes them solely for the purpose of putting the company’s digital services, such as Amazon Instant Video and the Kindle bookstore, front and center in a customer’s tablet experience.

“With their tablet product, [Amazon] undercut the competition and did very well,” says Tuong Nguyen, a research analyst at Gartner. “But I don’t know what they can possibly offer me … that would be compelling enough that would make me want to have an Amazon phone.”

For a company that’s all about selling content, building a device that consumers want to use to consume that content (i.e. a tablet) is a logical move, and the strategy has worked pretty well so far. Apple’s iPad is the clear leader in the tablet space, but Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices have done very well by all accounts.

Smartphone owners use their devices differently from tablets, though, so the content-consumption logic doesn’t translate so well to that device. Add to that a market that’s already extremely crowded, and the headaches of dealing with wireless carriers and technologies, and you can see why Amazon has ignored the smartphone space so far.

But there are two major market forces that could be factoring into Amazon’s decision that now is a good time to enter the smartphone market. The first is that tablet sales have flatlined: People aren’t buying them at the same clip as they used to, even though prices are at an all-time low.

“If Amazon is trying to gain a bigger footprint, then tablets have limits,” says Harry Wang, director of mobile product research at Parks Associates. “The next frontier is the shift to smartphones, because that’s a bigger market.”

Second is the rise of the phablet. Smartphones with big screens have been popular for a while, with the average size of a flagship Android phone now a little over 5 inches. Some are over 6, and there are rumors of even 7-inch phones on the way. With larger screens and ever-faster processing power, today’s phablets are almost as good as tablets at “consumption.”

If Amazon is feeling the squeeze on tablet sales, it would likely see the smartphone market next door — an order of magnitude larger — and decide it couldn’t ignore that opportunity any longer. Building the hardware would be relatively easy, given its Kindle legacy.

Standing out from the crowd

Of course, in today’s smartphone market, hardware’s the easy part. What’s hard is differentiation — giving customers a reason to pick your phone over competitors. Amazon’s teaser video appeared to imply that some kind of visual feature (3D holograms, perhaps?) would make its new smartphone stand out.

Whatever the novelty is, it’s almost definitely not what people will buy an Amazon phone for. Innovative hardware might generate headlines, but it doesn’t sell phones, where people mainly care about design, user experience and app availability.

A hologram that moves with your head will get pretty old by the second day, and competitors would soon replicate the feature anyway. “We’re not about hardware anymore,” says Nguyen. “It’s all about eyeballs.”

Amazon has other ways to differentiate its smartphone, however. It could offer an new kind of app or service that’s exclusive to owners. An Amazon phone could offer a custom-designed mobile shopping experience, which would be attractive to many users. Parks Associates says 39% of all smartphone owners use retail apps — and that they’re used, on average, only slightly less than video apps such as Netflix and YouTube.

More likely, Amazon will launch its phone with a new pricing model. The company has always been aggressive in pricing its Kindle tablets, and it’ll no doubt do the same with a theoretical smartphone.

What would really take things to the next level, however, would be if Amazon offered its smartphone with a free (or nearly free) data plan. The company already sells LTE versions of its Kindle Fire tablets with free limited data. What if it convinced just one carrier to extend that model to a phone?

Whatever the pricing model ends up being, you can bet Amazon Prime membership will factor in. Chances are high that any owner of Amazon hardware is also a Prime member (Kindle e-readers excepted). The service will likely come bundled with the smartphone in some way; perhaps Prime members will get discounts on wireless services.

“They already have about 22 million prime members,” says Wang. To those members, he adds, “Amazon could offer a great value in a smartphone.”

Will creative pricing be enough to convince people to buy Amazon’s smartphone? If the hardware is good enough — and there’s no reason to believe it won’t be — there’s a good chance. In any case, Amazon is feeling enough desperation and hubris (if those delivery drones are any indication) to make a go of it.

Amazon launching a smartphone would be unusual, risky and probably gimmicky, but there are ways it could work. And if Jeff Bezos has that market in his sights, a year from now it may be hard to imagine a world without a Kindle phone.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/06/05/amazon-phone-sense/