Report: AT&T to snag exclusivity for Amazon phone


amazon smartphone renders

Hoping to buy whatever smartphone Amazon happens to announce at their big event tomorrow? It doesn’t sound like it’ll be all that easy unless you’re an AT&T customer (or willing to become one). The Wall Street Journal is announcing that AT&T will be named as the exclusive carrier to offer Amazon’s smartphone.

AT&T is well-known for securing interesting device exclusives. We needn’t look much further than the launch of the original iPhone and various follow-ups to see that they’re willing to pay top dollar to offer something no one else can. (That partnership ended quite a while ago, of course.)

And Amazon’s dealings with AT&T aren’t anything new. Although AT&T doesn’t get the fanfare and parade for it, they are the exclusive provider for Kindle 3G’s free data in the United States. It isn’t hard to believe the strength of that partnership has moved Amazon to consider getting in bed with AT&T for their first smartphone.

This also isn’t the first time we’ve heard of Amazon and AT&T partnering up for this release. The earliest rumors named AT&T as a provider of “Prime Data,” which would be a data channel for people to consume Amazon content — such as books, streaming movies and TV, and MP3s — over AT&T’s network without it counting toward their data limit.

The pieces are all falling into place, and tomorrow should be a very interesting day to say the least. You know our eyes will be peeled to see how it all plays out so be sure to circle back for everything you need to know.

[via Wall Street Journal]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. are any of us surprised? seams like AT&T always snatchs up all the big releases for their network exclusively.

    1. It’s all they have, they have to be able to flaunt something. They’re the 2nd biggest carrier and their coverage completely sucks. Maybe they should stop investing in exclusive crap and build their network.

  2. Has Amazon not learned from the mistakes of early iPhone Apple and Motorola made with exclusives.

  3. Carrier exclusivity can be good or bad. It worked out for Apple as they traded exclusivity for total control, and the popularity of the device allowed Apple to parlay this into total control on other carriers.

    It failed for Motomaker and the Lumia 1020 because those companies traded carrier exclusivity for help with advertising and product placement. They basically ceded control to AT&T twice and got nothing for it.

    If Amazon doesn’t retain total control of their device, the apps preloaded with it, and the update process, then this is a stupid arrangement for them. They don’t need product placement.

    1. MotoMaker failed because you couldn’t make the phones in the store. No one goes into a store to buy something only so they can be told to go home and do it online.

      1. I don’t disagree. That definitely played a role in it. However, there are many people who don’t mind waiting a week for a custom device (even if it’s just an etched Zune/iPod Touch/iPhone). The problem is that early adopters want it right at release, not 3-4 months later due to carrier exclusivity. We know that phones are outdated the minute that you buy them, but they’re REALLY outdated the closer they get to the successor device.

        Case in point, I’m being paid to take a 64GB Moto X next week. At this point in its life, if it were my money, I’d be waiting for the new one and not taking the model that’s about to be supplanted. People don’t want to see Motomaker come out in August, only to be told that they have to wait even longer because of carrier exclusivity, delayed wood backs, delayed 64GB option, etc. It needs to be out day one for all carriers.

        Bottom line is that, regardless of your point (which is absolutely correct), limiting a product to one carrier in the hope that it will spur sales is a backwards principal. It helps the carrier in two ways and the phone maker gets little to nothing out of it. Apple played it smart and extracted something huge from it that they still enjoy to this day, which is total freedom to control their device. If Amazon gets anything less than this, then their exclusivity is a fail.

  4. The phone is going to suck anyways.

  5. the only way to sell as many smartphones as possible is to sell with as
    many carriers as possible, as do samsung and apple…to be exclusive to
    just one carrier isnt the best option when trying to compete against
    samsung and apple.

    so far, all the exclusive devices to at&t didnt sell well. oh well…

    1. The smartphone industry is very competitive, releasing a new product world wide increases your risk exponentially. They are definitely doing the right thing by releasing it on one carrier first just to see how it will sell then expand from there. When android came out, it was just one OEM(htc) selling the device on one carrier(tmobile) same thing with the iphone when that came out, again it was just one carrier.

      1. we are not talking worldwide, we are talking u.s. carriers. besides, we are talking amazon here, who can basically sell at cost or a little above cost just like google with its nexus devices and make money thru its services, this being said, wouldnt be much of a risk as it would be if we were talking about htc or nokia doing an exclusive with just one carrier…

        btw, what ever happened to the nokia lumia 1520 exclusive to att? same thing will happn to the asus padfone and its at&t exclusive…then wonder why these exclusive devices arent selling as many as they’d like…OH WELL

        1. Double post, sorry.

        2. New devices never really sell as they should and these corporations know that, that’s why they initially start out small just to see how it performs on the market. Look at the original galaxy note, how many carriers was that on when it was first released? It was an unproven product that looked silly at the time because of its size. It performed pretty well for what it was and the note 2 ended up being available on all carriers.

    2. The iPhone was exclusive to att and look how that turned out.

      1. the smartphone market back then was no where near the competition of today

        1. ^^THIS. There weren’t dozens of equally or better phones on the market at that time. Times have changed.

        2. Exactly, that’s why they would be better off just selling it on one carrier and see how it performs before going balls to the wall. It doesn’t make much sense going all out on a mid level device.

          Also back then there weren’t as many smartphone subscribers as there are today obviously but back then the market was still dominated by Windows mobile and blackberry so why would apple go all out on an unproven product?

    3. Or be the biggest online retailer, give incentives no other phone manufacturers can. Give great customer support so the average person can hit a button a speak to a rep. I love the customization of Android. It is a blessing and a curse. Take your average person and show them a LG. Samsung and HTC people get confused by all the skins and having to relearn everything.

  6. If its skinned and crippled by not allowing the playstore like their tablet lineup then its DOA. 3D isn’t nothing new (LG Thrill & HTC EVO 3D)

    1. It’s not what the product is that’s going to be good, it’s how it’s being used.

      3D isn’t new, but how is the 3D being used? That’s what the game changer is. From what I was understanding, the phone is supposed to use holographic images to project 3D. I think I read that right.

  7. I highly doubt it will be DOA. If they can give unlimited data for Prime customers to utilize their services it a win win. Amazon just secured HBO. They know how important content is. I highly doubt they will make it too hard to port apps considering how competitive the phone market is.

    1. How many people go in an AT&T store looking for an iPhone? A lot.
      How many people go in an AT&T store looking for a Galaxy? A lot.
      How many people go in an AT&T store looking for a Facebook phone? 0.
      How many people go in an AT&T store looking for an Amazon phone? 0.
      How many people go to for their Amazon goodness? A lot.
      Amazon should have sold it unlocked on their website like Google does for the Nexus phones.

      1. How many people go in an Amazon looking for an iPhone? A lot.
        How many people go in an Amazon looking for a Galaxy? A lot.
        How many people go in an Amazon looking for an Amazon phone? We don’t know yet.
        How many people go to for their Amazon goodness? 165,000,000 every month!

  8. Well I guess it’s DOA then.

  9. As much as I hate carrier exclusive phones, it’s probably AT&T’s iPhone exclusivity that gave Android the boost to become a viable option. So sometimes I guess it’s a good thing.

  10. Lol this isn’t the first iphone . thus won’t make anyone switch. This only works out for att to sway undecided customers with .

  11. Nobody’s going to care about this phone.

  12. Looks like I’ll be switching to AT&T…………NOT!!

  13. Amazon is better off offering the phone unlocked like the Moto G and Moto G LTE. They will sell like crazy worldwide. I don’t get why they would want to limit themselves with ATT

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