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Report: AT&T to Be Exclusive Carrier for New Amazon Phone

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 9:23am
Ben Munson

AT&T has landed the exclusive carrier rights for Amazon’s new smartphone, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Amazon is expected to announce its new smartphone at an event Wednesday in Seattle. Reports and teasers from the company suggest the phone will feature 3D imaging that uses eye-tracking technology instead of glasses.

The new Amazon phone is expected to ship by September. Although it will hardly be the first foray into hardware for Amazon—which recently entered the streaming media market with its Fire TV set-top—the commerce giant is going up against to well-established smartphone players in Apple and Samsung. Comscore’s latest U.S. smartphone OEM market share report sees the two combining for a nearly 70 percent share.

Amazon is gearing up its mobile application ecosystem to take on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The company Monday touted the growth of its Amazon Appstore, which closed in on 240,000 apps capable of running on the Android-based Fire OS. It’s likely that an Amazon smartphone would run Fire OS.

Speculation arose that T-Mobile could have a potential Amazon partnership in the works when the carrier moved its same-day event from Los Angeles to Seattle to be closer to Amazon’s big phone news. But AT&T has a track record for scoring high-profile smartphone exclusives. AT&T was the exclusive carrier for the iPhone upon its initial release in 2007.

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