Amazon’s android devices are designed by Lab126, a wholly owned subsidy of Amazon in Cupertino, California, within a stone’s throw distance from Apple’s headquarter. Is the 1-click enable smartphone going to threat local retail business?
There have been rumored for a while that Amazon are going to sell an Android based smartphone after successfully sold millions of Kindle Fire tablets. That is very reasonable to me. I was one of early observer and predicted Kindle Fire could be a robust competitor to encroach Apple’s iPad sales. We published our popular iPharmacy app soon after Amazon opened its own App Store in 2011. However, app sales were sluggish until Kindle Fire hit the market. We observed an immediate pick up of volume and traffic right after the day Kindle Fire started to reach consumers’ hand last Winter.
I lived in Cupertino, California where Apple designs its i-devices, such as iPod, iPhone and iPad (no vacuum yet). It surprised me when I met an Amazon hardware manager at a birthday party. I found out Amazon actually design their Android devices in the same city as Apple. The low profile subsidy called Lab126, the address is 20450 Stevens Creek Blvd. Suite 126, Cupertino, CA 95014, which is just a couple of blocks away from Apple’s global headquarter at 1 Infinite Loop!
From Lab126′s website, Lab126 is hiring hardware engineers and designers. With more than 34,000 Apple employees in town, it will be no surprise that someone may jump boat from Apple to Amazon, or vice versa, especially when 2 boats are so close.
I have no doubt that Amazon will be able to make yet another big splash in the already crowded smartphone markets. The puzzle is what Amazon is going to do with the their own ubiquitous Android phone with their millions of loyal consumers. I believe Amazon’s appetite is way beyond selling android smartphones, tablet and apps, or books and musics. They probably want to sell anything on Amazon, electronics, grocery, toys, sports, everything, through the phone, within one click. Amazon is the one and only one with the right hardware (android phone), software ( android and 1-click ordering) and most importantly, millions of credit cards which are eager to be charged. That could be the biggest threat ever to local stores who are selling the similar or identical goods which can be found at Amazon.com — How are they going to price match those non-perishables?
DISCLAIMER: I long Apple (APPL) and Amazon (AMZN).