Wednesday’s expected announcement of a new smartphone from Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is also reported to reveal that the online retailer has signed a deal with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) as the exclusive carrier for the phone. AT&T already has an existing relationship with Amazon to provide wireless service for its Kindle tablets and e-readers.
AT&T is surely hoping for lightning to strike again as it did for the first three years of its exclusive deal with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) when the iPhone was first introduced in 2007. The Wall Street Journal cites unnamed sources for the report of the exclusive carrier agreement between Amazon and AT&T.
Amazon is expected to begin shipping the new phones by the end of September. One distinguishing feature of the phone is reported to be its ability to display 3D images without requiring the user to wear special glasses.
The 3D capability (gimmick?) aside, Amazon’s intention with releasing a smartphone is to expand its ecosystem with a device over which the company has immediate access to its best customers. Amazon already has its own Appstore, and the company likely envisions a phone home screen loaded with Amazon apps that tie the user more closely to all the various services and goods that the company offers. Making a purchase is never more than a few clicks away.