June 18, 2014, 2:06 PM —
Image credit: Amazon
Amazon unveiled its highly anticipated entry into the smartphone market Wednesday, a handset called "Fire."
The phone, announced by CEO Jeff Bezos at an event in Seattle, has a 4.7-inch screen, a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and a quad-core processor.
Amazon's entry into the crowded smartphone space could increase competition if consumers buy into its vision. Unlike other phone makers, Amazon has a compelling service to offer alongside its hardware in the shape of the Amazon Prime music, e-book and video service.
However, success is not certain. Facebook attempted to get in on the market in early 2013 with a customized handset from Taiwan's HTC called the HTC First. The phone was a flop and just a few months later carrier AT&T was offering it at a discount.
Founded 20 years ago, Amazon has grown from an online seller of books into one of the world's largest e-commerce sites. It also sells its own e-book and tablet hardware, has become a publisher of electronic books and is a major supplier of cloud computing capacity. In the last few years, it has been building up its Prime annual subscription service adding video streaming, e-books and, most recently, streaming music.
(More to follow.)