Amazon’s smartphone success may not be easily won

Jeff Bezos was quick to see the potential of the internet, but has seemed slow to latch on to mobile commerce. With a new smartphone, can he turn that around?

Amazon’s decision to launch a smartphone on Wednesday in Seattle may look to some like a bid for world domination. Many details have leaked before its launch: it will have a 4.7in screen, and be available only on AT&T in the US and perhaps Vodafone in the UK; for its "wow" factor it will have front-facing cameras together with a screen that can give the impression of showing a moving 3D-object. And it joins the Kindle Fire tablet (first launched in September 2011, and now on its third generation) and recently launched Fire TV set-top box.

But Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s determined founder and chief executive, will know that the smartphone market will be far more difficult to dominate – or even to break into – than the tablet or set-top box market, and much harder than the ebook market where the original Kindle holds sway.

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