A report claims that Amazon is looking to make its upcoming smartphone completely free, both on and off-contract, in order to attract users towards its ecosystem.
Technology blogger Jessica Lessin claims that “people familiar with Amazon’s effort” confirmed that offering the smartphones for free is an actual possibility the company is considering. However, there will likely be caveats, such as needing a subscription to Amazon’s Prime loyalty program, which will help the retailer recoup the costs by selling content such as books, music, as well as advertisements.
Amazon already sells its Kindle Fire tablets at a low price, but actually giving away a device for free would face many obstacles, such as convincing manufacturers and carriers to take part in the ambitious plan. If it does manage to do that, it would create a whole new market, one which will give sleepless nights to companies like Apple, and also Google, who sell their Nexus devices at cost as well.
Amazon has been rumored to be working on two smartphones, a high-end model with a 3D display and a lower-end device, and both will most likely run Amazon’s forked version of Android, which would lock users into the retailer’s ecosystem without access to Google’s apps and services, including the Play Store.