Three months after it was revealed that Amazon took a $170 million loss during its last foray into the smartphone market, the e-tailer is reportedly readying plans for a second go-around, this time by partnering with other well-established mobile companies.
Ars Technica, citing a report from The Information (paywalled), claims that Amazon is exploring the possibility of partnering with smartphone original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to get in on the ground floor.
The company is reportedly in discussions to work with brands at a “factory level” to integrate its services into handsets in a larger capacity than just downloaded apps.
Ideally, the phones would not only resemble the defunct Amazon Fire Phone, but would come with the same preloaded Amazon services.
Some Amazon apps already come preloaded on certain Android devices, and the operating system used on Amazon phones and tablets is a “forked” version of the Google OS. The apparent idea is that, by working with OEMs, Amazon could end up with a product that looks and acts more like Android while also competing with the Google-owned services like Google Play and the Google app store.
It’s unclear what products Amazon is shopping around to OEM’s, but it’s possible the company could be looking to have phone makers replace voice assistants with its Echo speaker smartphone app featuring assistant Alexa.
As Ars points out, Google’s contracts with manufacturers may prevent them from getting too cozy with Amazon lest they kill the Android golden goose.