The Amazon Fire phone was a flop. Launched in 2014, Amazon's first smartphone handset sold for $650 unlocked. The Fire Phone never caught on for multiple reasons and soon could be had for as little as $130 just a year later.
But if Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin rocket venture can launch a rocket into space – twice even using the same hardware – surely Amazon could launch a successful smartphone, too?
While rumors persist of a Fire Phone redux for 2016 – it's probably going to be called the Fire Phone 2 but the Prime Phone has a nice ring to it – the latest online whisperings tell of Amazon's plans to create a forked version of Android that will compete with Google.
Amazon certainly wouldn't be the first company to create a forked version of Android. Chinese phone makers like Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo and a slew of others are already doing this. However, the American company would be the first to do so on our shores.
At the moment, Amazon is said to be in talks with various smartphone makers about creating Android devices that will offer Amazon services instead of Google services. The company's peg is its very own Kindle Fire tablets.
Unfortunately for Amazon, those very same manufacturers are bound by an agreement with Google that prevents them from doing what Amazon wants. All of the major smartphone makers we've come to know are forbidden by licensing contracts to include competing services and products already made by Google.
Moreover, because of an "anti-fragmentation" clause, smartphone makers are required to include Google services on every Android device it selsl if it wants its handsets to have access to Google Play.
The association of Android as an operating system is so strongly bound to the Google Play Store that Amazon's attempt to work around the source of the OS's most popular apps would be a daunting task.
If Amazon were to push through with its supposed plans of creating a forked mobile OS, it would essentially be creating another mobile operating system joining the ranks of Apple's iOS, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows Phone and Blackberry's BB10.