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Amazon may launch second generation of own-brand smartphone

17 June 2015 - 11:23 by Graham Miller

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Online retail giant, Amazon, has had significant success entering the hardware market with its Kindle range of eBook readers, as well as the Kindle Fire tablets running Android.

Although these devices were geared towards encouraging people to carry out safe shopping online through the firm’s own channels, focusing on both physical purchases and digital downloads, it still managed to offer enough functionality and affordability to keep critics and consumers happy.

That all changed with the launch of the original Fire Phone, which was Amazon’s initial attempt to take on the smartphone market. Dire reviews and poor sales have pursued the device ever since and it has dropped in price to just £99 in the UK recently.

Now patent information suggests that a Fire Phone 2 device may be in the works, with Amazon working on technology which will allow users to unlock their handset using their ears.

This sounds odd at first, but it may well be following in the footsteps of the iPhone’s fingerprint scanning TouchID service, albeit using a different part of the body. So perhaps people will be able to make purchases via safe shopping online and use their ears to log into their Amazon account.

The novelty of this is significant, but as long as the security it offers for phone unlocking and online transactions is decent, then it may just be another way in which smartphones are making it easier for consumers to place orders.

Of course, Amazon may well have to rethink the branding of its next smartphone, since the poor reputation of the first handset it launched may be difficult to overcome, unless it strikes out with a unique new name. And it will need to perfect many areas of the hardware to make sure that the ear scanner does not make the phone seem like a one trick pony.