Oh, carrier exclusives, how we have missed thee. In this enlightened age when the flagship phones from Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola are all available on the Big Four American carriers, it's so easy to forget that some devices aren't. And just in case you needed reminding, it looks like the Amazon phone expected at tomorrow's press event is going to be an AT&T exclusive. So sayeth the Wall Street Journal, which tends to be spot-on with Amazon news.

That would be frustrating, but not altogether surprising. AT&T Wireless is Amazon's exclusive 3G/LTE partner for the Kindle Fire tablets in the United States, so the relationship between the two companies is already pretty solid. Launching a new phone on what's technically a distinct platform (Amazon's Android-based Fire OS and branded Appstore) will probably require more support and infrastructure than other devices, at least initially. Whether or not the phone would remain an AT&T exclusive is probably a less pressing issue than the phone's viability as a product - look to the HTC First, AKA "The Facebook Phone," for an example of a platform-dependent Android device that flopped hard. Then again, that was also an AT&T exclusive...

The rumor mill on Amazon's phone says that it includes a multitude of front-facing cameras designed for head or eye tracking instead of photography, aiding in a 3D visual interface. That's certainly a novel approach, and if Amazon hopes to compete with conventional Android phones and iPhones, it may need it. I would also speculate that Amazon's phone may utilize some kind of non-standard payment model, possibly including access to Amazon Prime. Amazon's announcement event is tomorrow in Seattle.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

    Exclusive huh? Sound familiar? Facebook phone anyone? This phone is DOA.

    • Kylecore

      It appears that you didn't read an entire paragraph of the article

    • Jorge Wiegand

      Or Moto X. ¿?

      • Abhilash Bingi

        Only the Motomaker customization was exclusive to AT&T at launch

      • Cael

        The Moto X wasn't DOA...even if the MotoMaker was exclusive at launch.

  • Jephri

    Yeah, no tears lost here. Do you really want a phone without google services? Even iphone has that.

    • Pratik Holla

      Yup, this is what most of these closed of guys don't get. The amazon app store is just not up to snuff compared with google play. Buying this phone with a 2 year contract is putting yourself through torture. I'd rather have a WP8 device than this....

  • moelsen8

    wasn't very interested before. much less now.

  • Henrique Persechini

    "act like it's 2006 and you've never seen a smartphone before" - Director of this video

    • shadowx360

      More of like: "Look down and act like you've never seen your genitals before."

      • Doug Griffith

        Just re-watched it after reading this comment. It is now the funniest video I've seen in months. "I would use that a lot"...

      • Anonymous

        OMFG, I am dyyying!

      • sy

        "do I have to give this back" can't stop laughing.

  • Alex Stansfield

    The amazon fork of android on a phone? I'll pass thanks.

  • br_hermon

    So it looks like the Kindle Fire tablet has gotten some AOSP Rom lovin. Anyone have any experience there? Wonder if the same will be available for this phone. The multitude of cameras could be an issue, but in the end is it even worth the trouble?

  • Tykin

    This worked out so well for the Moto X, Nokia Lumia, iPhone, and HTC First. Those didn't suffer market share loss due to carrier exclusivity in the least!

    • Abhilash Bingi

      Obviously AT&T is paying enough that Amazon and other companies are willing to do this. It's not like Amazon doesn't know this already.

    • Cael

      The Moto X was available for all carriers...MotoMaker didn't prevent that.

  • firesoul453

    My problem with the amazon app store is that most the paid apps are out of date!

  • ProductFRED

    I don't really get who the target demographic is for this platform. You're probably using an Amazon tablet for Kindle, Web browsing, and general media consumption. That works because most people use tablets as a secondary device. But for a primary device, we already have iPhones for people that want something that "just works" (let's keep it objective here. Android for the tech crowd, or people who want a different form factor. Windows Phone for people who want something different, or in between Android and iOS. Competition is good when it's meaningful. I can't see an Amazon phone succeeding as a primary device unless the user is really hooked into the Amazon ecosystem.

    • TylerChappell

      I think Amazon's reputation will potentially be a huge factor in convincing people to get this phone. That, and I am expecting the price to either be free on contract, or certainly under $100. Possibly even $200 OFF-contract. If they can pull that off, then I would expect this phone to be a small success. And with the announcement of Amazon Prime Music today, releasing a phone that also lets you tap into Amazon Prime Instant Video could really be a bargain for Amazon users.
      I am an Amazon prime member but I have no interest in buying this phone other than to do a review on it, nor do I own any of Amazon's tablets/ereaders.
      Lastly, I am sure AT&T reps will be basically told to push this phone like none other.
      Basically I would see this as a potentially great phone for the older crowd or first-time smartphone buyers who already do a lot of shopping on Amazon.

  • ProductFRED

    This video got linked to on reddit the other day with the title, "Amazon Customers Discover Their Genitals"

  • Kyle Riedemann

    I don't really care about this phone, but it looks alot like a Nexus 4 with LTE. If they're cheap enough, I might just buy one anyways.

  • Jay

    Amazon should be banned until they get Amazon Instant Video to work on Android devices. It is so lame that you can watch Amazon Instant Video on an iPad but not an Android Tablet.

  • Leon Tseng

    Je pense que Oneplus (http://goo.gl/gjtg0F) est maintenant d'acheter un téléphone mobile. J'ai vu cette lenteen.fr de téléphone.

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