Is Amazon’s Fire Phone a ‘Category Killer?’

Adweek’s Lauren Johnson has a smart story about the new Amazon smart phone, the Fire Phone, and how it spells trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers. Its built-in mobile app, Firefly, scans product QR codes and then directs consumers to, she reported yesterday.

Here’s what some ad executives had to say about what the Fire Phone means for the smart phone category versus the other big players in the market:

Matt_Witt Matthew Witt, EVP, Director of Digital Integration, Tris3ct.

I think it’s very feasible for the Amazon smart phone to give Apple and Samsung some competition. To penetrate the market initially, they have to be very competitive on price, which they’ve done with their tablet devices, the Kindle and the Kindle Fire HD. But the longer term opportunity is for Amazon to fold in other services, such as the scanning capabilities that come with Amazon Prime’s Wand and their entertainment streaming services. Making those native to the phone will help drive business in other channels for Amazon.

Jeff AnulewiczJeff Anulewicz, Executive Director of Strategy & Analytics, MXM Mobile.

With mobile phones today, people aren’t just buying technology.  They’re buying image.  They’re buying services.  They are making a choice about how this device fits into their daily life.

Getting into the smartphone market in a truly meaningful way is no easy proposition (just ask Facebook).  But if the rumors of technology advances such as a 3D interface and eye tracking are true, coupled with their history of heavily subsidizing their device offerings, than perhaps Amazon has a better chance of gaining traction.

But let’s be honest, Amazon is not a hardware company.  First and foremost they are a content and eCommerce company.  Their forays into hardware with the Kindle Fire and Amazon Fire TV are simply ways to streamline the way they sell and serve content to their consumers.

By adding a smartphone into this ecosystem, and powered by its Prime service, they are looking to create an even deeper, more direct digital connection with their consumers.

Bill Tucker_photoBill Tucker, EVP, Media Relations, the 4A’s.
Amazon can certainly gain share of market with AT&T, which is a terrific partner. Any smart phone that can overcome some of the ‘pain points’ that keep mobile from becoming a more effective advertising and retail channel, could be a category killer. A 3D display is nice but if the Amazon phone platform doesn’t have truly responsive ad design or enable seamless multi-screen experiences, or make it way easier for consumers to buy things from this phone than current smart phones, then I won’t consider it extraordinary.

dan rocheDan Roche, VP of Marketing, TalkPoint.

It’s early to call Amazon’s smartphone an iPhone killer, but they are definitely on a collision course. Amazon is smartly mimicking iPhone’s exclusive launch strategy with AT&T to try to co-op the provider into a hard push. Pricing is also strategic to get into users hands (Amazon’s Fire Phone is $100 less for the same amount of storage as an iPhone 5S). The long play for Amazon here is really how seamlessly it integrates into the Amazon catalogue of products, including Prime services like music and video. Most importantly, the phone itself, with its 3D technology, takes a leap forward, which is something that Apple hasn’t done in a while. With TalkPoint as a technology provider that leverages the mobile market, we love to see any hardware progress that brings more users into the fold. The Amazon Fire should make a splash in the market, but only time will tell how significant it will be.

gareth-dimelowGareth Dimelow, Executive Director, Engagement Planning, George P. Johnson, United Kingdom. 

Already being trumpeted as a potential “iPhone killer,” the new Amazon smartphone carries the weight of the world’s expectations on its intuitively designed shoulders. This close to the launch, no one can say whether Amazon will kill the iPhone’s market dominance, but perhaps that’s because this isn’t really where Amazon’s interests lie. Jeff Bezos has always been clear on his intentions to make Amazon an “everything company.” And if, like Apple, he wants to tie consumers into a proprietary content platform, his objective won’t be to kill the iPhone. Instead, he’s looking to emulate their revolutionary model and ensure that Amazon’s customers enjoy a richer, deeper and longer-lasting retail and consumption experience.

Michael Lieberman_photoMichael Lieberman, Co-President, Joule.

Amazon has done a great job of building up a loyal brand following, embodied by the success of Prime.  And more than other Android manufacturers, Amazon was successful in creating a user-friendly interface for its Fire tablet that also encouraged interaction with Amazon services.  If Amazon is to have success, they will need to transition both the audience and the seamless, engaging experience to the new Fire phone, albeit in a very unforgiving smartphone market.



Posted on June 19, 2014, in The Hit Board. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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