T3‘s Jeff Parsons fans the flames of Ama­zon’s Fire

Australian T3 - - RADAR -

Jeff Be­zos’s re­tail mega­corp has been care­fully sim­pli­fy­ing our on­line buys since 1997, when it in­tro­duced the handy but wal­let-wor­ry­ing one-click pay­ment method. Now, 17 years later, we have the Fire Phone, a per­fect pay­ment por­tal.

Un­like other man­u­fac­tur­ers, who re­lease de­vices and grow an ecosys­tem to sup­port them, Ama­zon has spent the past twenty years as­sem­bling an em­pire. Ye olde web­site is the de-facto price mea­sure­ment, if not sales till, for most of our shop­ping, while Ama­zon In­stant Video is tak­ing on Net­flix. Now it’s time to lever­age it all.

But while the Fire Phone may con­vince you to in­vest in more ebooks, mu­sic and movies, what it won’t do is un­seat the iPhone 5S, Sam­sung Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8 in the minds of the ma­jor­ity of buy­ers. At US$649 for a 32GB model with­out a con­tract, Ama­zon isn’t re­ally com­pet­ing very hard on price. And while fea­tures such as Dy­namic Per­spec­tive and May­day are nice, they don’t have the same in­stant ap­peal that, say, Ap­ple’s Touch-ID does.

The Fire Phone is an open­ing smart­phone salvo and, like the Kin­dle tablets, it is sure to carve out a niche of fans. If Ama­zon wants to outsmart and out­sell Ap­ple and An­droid in the long run, though, it will have to learn to in­no­vate more, not just sell us stuff on de­mand.

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