Amazon, the global e-retail behemoth might be looking to rekindle its own smartphone brand. The company already had a stab at this with its Fire Phone lineup which it shut down in 2015 after tepid customer response. Now, according to Gadgets360, it seems that it is looking to launch a new range of smartphones under the ‘Ice’ brand.

Another major shift in the e-retail giant’s strategy would be the change in market focus. The original Fire Phone lineup was heavily focused on the US and couple other matured markets while the upcoming smartphones will be targeting emerging markets like India. The company plans to launch at least one of these new handsets in India before the end of this year.

The upcoming Ice smartphones would be running a recent flavour of Google’s Android OS with Google Mobile Services (GMS) such as GMail and Google Play. This goes against the usual Amazon standard of bundling its own services on its devices, such as is the case with its range of tablets and virtual home assistants which are bereft of any Google apps on them.

One prototype device being tested currently has the following specifications, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 SoC sporting an octa-core CPU and an Adreno 505 GPU. This is coupled with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. The display of the handset is between 5.2-inch and 5.5-inch while it sports a 13-megapixel camera at the back. The unnamed smartphone will also have a fingerprint scanner at the back while running on Android v.7.1.1, Nougat and featuring Google’s AI Assistant. It is speculated that the handset is currently expected to carry a price tag of ~₹6,000 (~$93) although the exact price will only be revealed closer to launch.

Read More: Amazon launches the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets, along with Kids Edition

The reports sites the person who has used this new ‘Ice’ smartphone as stating it as not having Alexa onboard. Alexa is Amazon’s in-house virtual digital assistant that has been featured on the companies Echo devices and is in direct contention against Google’s Assistant. The person is also quoted as stating that the smartphone is not running a final software build, so Alexa might arrive by launch.

All in all, it should be interesting to see where this leads and whether Amazon manages to finally get a foothold in the smartphone segment especially in a competitive market like India where it will be squeezed against established brands and Chinese OEM’s.

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Abhay Masand
Rationalist. Idealist. Cynic. Human. PC enthusiast and gamer. Can be found reading books, listening to casts and babbling. Runs on dopamine. I do the news, sometimes.
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