The latest rumor from The Verge about Amazon’s mythical phone is that it will be free, or nearly free, even if you don’t have a phone contract. Is this enough to get people over the hump of Amazon’s legendary tracking and into their waiting arms of Amazon Prime and the Amazon App Store? Personally, I’m on the fence.
I see two sides to this. On the one hand, this could be a very compelling extra phone or backup phone. For free, or nearly free, it makes for a good “what-if” device to keep in a drawer, or use as a media player that can step up to smartphone duty in a hurry. If the specs are good, I could even see this phone as a catalyst for prepaid cell phone service gaining a serious foothold with consumers.
The major stumbling block, as much as I love and use their services (all the time) is Amazon itself. A phone that is cheap and off-contract from Amazon is likely to have “special offers”. Even without those, there’s still the issue of how much information Amazon wants and needs about each consumer. The more they know about what motivated one sale, the more they can sell in the future. How much is it worth to us to hand over even more information about our shopping habits to save a few dollars? Is it a no-contract smartphone for $100? $50? Free?
I can’t say for certain what my personal choice would be. Given how tied in my household is to Amazon, it’s an easy one to think that picking up an Amazon smartphone is beneficial. But is it worth forking over that much more of our lives to be tracked, monitored, rolled into a database and repackaged as a gold box deal?