Could a KindlePhone and FireTube lure you away from Apple? (If they're ever made... or shipped in your country...)

Amazon again rumored to be upping their competition with Apple, this time with phones and a TV box

Ever since Amazon launched the Kindle Fire line of tablets, rumors of swirled about them making Kindle phones using the same embedded Android base and store-front centric interface. Now those rumors are back, and they've brought with them new rumors of an Apple TV (or ChromeCast)-style TV dongle to help get stuff off the Kindle platform and onto big screen TVs. Hacker News:

There are 2 versions, a cheap one that's being released by the end of the year with a basic software similar to the Kindle Fire software. The other version will be more expensive and feature a 3D UI but won't be released until at least next year. The screen itself is not 3D, but the front of the phone has 4 cameras placed on each corner of the phone, this is to track the user's eyes/head and move the UI to give the impression of 3D. Similar to what iOS 7 is achieving simply by using the phone's accelerometer. The advantage being that it's not based on how the phone moves, but how the head moves.

According to the post, retention of employees, claimed to be the lowest in the industry, has kept the hardware and software plans from being realized faster. Apparently the code-name is "Smith". No idea if that's for agent, Mr., or the profession.

Separately, information has surfaced about a possible FireTube dongle for getting all that stuff onto the TV. Seth Weintraub for 9to5Google:

It makes a lot of sense. Amazon has all of this content on the Fire and no way to put it on a TV yet. They have to release some type of Chromecast competitor and quick. There are, of course, rumors of an Amazon TV.

It does make a lot of sense. Amazon has had some success - though they haven't revealed hard numbers like Apple does, I'm assuming they've had some success - with the Kindle tablets. Given their strategy of only deploying where they have digital storefronts to subsidize the costs, they're face incredible limitations in how much they can do with any one device. Many devices gets around that problem. Amazon just wants you to buy stuff as easily as possible in the places they sell it. More portals to their store are, hence, better.

It's nothing I find even remotely competitive with iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple, but I can see people in the countries they're available, who are all in on Amazon, finding them appealing.

Anyone here interested in a KindlePhone or FireTube?

Source: via TechCrunch, 9to5Google

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Could a KindlePhone and FireTube lure you away from Apple? (If they're ever made... or shipped in your country...)


I am assuming it is an Apple TV level device.

I, too, loved webOS, but not sure that the Amazon hardware would be that much better (and therefore, problematic) than the Palm hardware was.

Well, Amazon was going to buy webOS from HP at one point, but backed down. And they could totally develop fast enough hardware. HP just needed a dual core 1.2 GHz processor in the Pre3, and all TouchPads should have had 1.5 GHz chips, instead of just the white one and the 4G version

No interest at all... Considering how many years I've spent collecting digital content from Apple's coffers... The only way I'd probably make a switch is if Apple ever tanked and went belly-up.
... Who knows, I might just go off-the-grid if ever faced with that proposition.

Sent from the iMore App

Same here, I'm too invested in Apple's ecosystem at this point. Not that that's the only thing keeping me on an iPhone, but it sure makes a difference. I don't buy any books, music, movies, or TV shows from Amazon, so none of this is something that would make me switch.

Not in a minute. Been using, with near exclusivity (on personal level), Apple products since 1983. Not about to change.

Though the most interesting to me? This paragraph:

"According to the post, retention of employees, claimed to be the lowest in the industry, has kept the hardware and software plans from being realized faster. "

Could this be a side-effect of cheap/free/sell at or below cost hardware trickling down with the amount they can justify paying the developers?

If I wanted a crippled/locked down Android item, I'd have bought the Kindle Fire instead of the iPad.

I am quite pleased with the Apple system. It all works without fail (Messages and iTunes Match song limit excluded) and keeps all my apps & devices sync'd. I also love the selection and price of the content I get from Amazon. But all of that content frolics nicely within my Apple rain forest so no compelling reason to switch.

I can't image that Amazon would put as much time, focus and money into the design and function details as Apple obsessively does. But this is all conjecture as I have not seen their magical system of levers and pulleys that proposes to replace my iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac. Perhaps on the back of a winged pig the Amazon phone will lead me astray.

I'm a little surprised they'd try to make their own TV box rather than leveraging an existing one since their only goal is content delivery. Roku would seem like a good box for them to leverage for a TV portal.