Amazon released its first - and so far, only - smartphone in July 2014, but it wasn't exactly the big hit the company was hoping for. Estimates suggested that Amazon had sold just 35,000 of its Fire Phones across the United States in its first three weeks of availability, and it didn't take long for the firm to slash prices in an effort to shift some of its stocks.
A year ago, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos commented on the Fire Phone's disastrous launch. "If you think that's a big failure," he said, "we're working on much bigger failures right now. And I am not kidding. And some of them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little blip."
Amazon clearly isn't afraid to try new things, even if they might end poorly, but the company will no doubt be hoping for some degree of success as it reportedly prepares to re-enter the crowded smartphone market. NDTV's Gadgets 360 reports that Amazon is working on a new line of handsets, known as 'Ice', although it's not yet clear if that's an internal development codename, or if that branding will be applied to the devices when they launch.
Significantly, Amazon is said to be making a big change on the software side of things. According to unnamed sources, the Ice phones will run "the latest version of Google's Android operating system with Google Mobile Services (GMS) such as Gmail and Google Play". Amazon's current range of Fire devices do not support GMS.
It's not yet clear how many handsets Amazon is working on, but the report states that at least one device will go on sale this year, targeting the budget smartphone segment, with availability in emerging markets such as India.
One device is said to have a display around 5.2 to 5.5 inches in size, and one configuration reportedly has a Snapdragon 435 processor, 13MP rear camera, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, and a fingerprint sensor on the back. It's expected to be priced around Rs.6,000 INR (roughly $93 USD) in India, and will ship with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, with support for Google Assistant. Curiously, it's not yet clear if the handsets will support Amazon's own Alexa digital assistant.