Is Amazon's 4.7-Inch Phone a Pocket-Sized E-Reader?
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is rumored to be developing a smartphone with a 4.7-inch screen.
According to DigiTimes, the device could be released during the second quarter. If true, Amazon would get a significant jump on the iPhone 5S, which Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is not expected to release before the third or fourth quarter.
Interestingly, DigiTimes' sources say that Amazon initially intended to develop a smartphone with a 4.3-inch display. That changed when demand continued to rise for larger devices, such as Samsung's Galaxy Note II, which sports a 5.5-inch screen. The Galaxy S IV, Samsung's newest smartphone, has a five-inch display.
Samsung may have helped popularize the large phone trend, but it was not the only instigator. Both the HTC One and LG Optimus G contain 4.7-inch displays.
Amazon is supposedly working to "enhance other specifications" of its smartphone, though DigiTimes did not detail what those may be.
Amazon is also expected to acquire Liquavista BV (a company that develops a special kind of display technology for e-readers) from Samsung. This firm would allow Amazon to build a color, video-playing e-reader that could run for several days or months without a charge.
Liquavista's display could also be used in laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches and other devices to enhance their battery power.
While the thought of a color e-reader may not excite the masses, a longer smartphone battery might be just the thing Amazon needs to draw consumers' attention away from Apple and Samsung.
There is a catch, however. Liquavista's technology is nowhere near the quality of the high-resolution displays that consumers expect from high-end smartphones. It is possible that the company has developed a better, top-secret display for some unannounced product.
If not, it could be difficult for Amazon to convince consumers to buy what they might perceive to be a lower-grade smartphone. The online retailer would have to use the increased battery life -- which could be enormous -- as its primary selling point.
For some consumers, that might be enough. Others would stick to the Apple and Samsung devices they know and love.
Meanwhile, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) recently teased consumers with a series of sun and summer-mentioning images on Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), prompting a plethora of rumors that the company is building a smartphone (or smartphone cover) that can absorb the sun's power.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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