Despite Rumors, Amazon and Facebook Should Stay Out of the Smartphone Market

In this industry, rumors come and go, but there are some rumors that just won’t kick the bucket. While most of these rumors end up being Apple related, such as the iPhone nano rumor, a few select non-Apple rumors have survived the test of time. Two of these rumors have to do with new entries into the smartphone market, entries that I believe should never occur. The two rumored additions come from Amazon and Facebook. Normally, these would be two different arguments, but when I sat down and analyzed their situations, I realized that the reasons they have to stay out of the smartphone market are quite similar.

First and foremost, the smartphone market is ridiculously crowded these days, and hardware manufacturers are having a hard time standing out. take Motorola for example. Not long ago, Motorola was the company to beat with their popular RAZR design. in fact, if it wasn’t for Motorola’s partnership with Google and Verizon to release the Motorola Droid, Android might not have taken off at all. fast forward to present day and you’ll find that Motorola is slipping in the ranks thanks to sluggish software and lackluster hardware. The point is, even the most experienced handset makers are having trouble staying relevant, and this would be the first time either company would be manufacturing a cell phone.

Besides the hardware issues both companies would face, both Amazon and Facebook would have to pick and design software for these devices. Amazon would most likely take their Kindle fire software and adapt it for phone use. The Fire’s software runs a skinned version of Android. even though Android apps run on the fire, applications can only be downloaded through Amazon’s proprietary App Store.

Facebook would most likely take a similar approach, designing their own proprietary OS on top of the Android-foundation that Google has already built out. Likewise, Facebook would probably close off Google Play for their users, forcing them to use apps that are already built for their Facebook App platform.

Ultimately, these two builds would only add to the Android fragmentation issue. Not only that, but Android tends to be sluggish enough without all of the customizations and redesigns that the two companies would add.

Even if you put aside the potentially buggy first generation hardware and fragmented software, there’s still one huge reason why these companies shouldn’t bother with a smartphone of their own. both Amazon and Facebook get the most benefit if they keep their current mobile strategy, which has been one of providing applications for each platform. although a Facebook phone or an Amazon phone wouldn’t mean death for their cross-platform applications, it would certainly limit their functionality. After all, no one would buy these devices if they didn’t have features that mobile apps already provide. The point is, both Facebook and Amazon do their job best when they can provide their experiences equally across all the platforms. This strategy gives them a much larger user base than other experiences.

In summary, between the crowded hardware market, the fragmented software, and the benefits that these companies gain from being cross-platform, I think that any rumors or plans of Facebook and/or Amazon entering the smartphone market should clearly be put to rest.

Despite Rumors, Amazon and Facebook Should Stay Out of the Smartphone Market

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