Amazon Prime arrives on Android (but at the expense of the Fire Phone)

by Matt Klassen on September 15, 2014

Just as the Kindle Fire hits shelves in countries around the world and as the price crashes here at home to less than a dollar, Amazon has seemingly eliminated one of the biggest reasons to ever buy one. Last week the company announced it has released Amazon Prime, including its Instant Video service, on Android, making the streaming video service available to everyone with a simple download of the company’s latest app.

While clearly part of a concerted effort to extend its reach into the mobile world—the service being already available on iOS and Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices—the move, as mentioned, seems to come at the expense of its Amazon branded smartphone offering, the Fire Phone, which is reportedly already suffering from lacklustre adoption, forcing the company to slash the price of the phone on a two-year plan to under a dollar.

Of course the company’s Fire Phone still does hold a few advantages over its Android cousins, as users of the Amazon phone still have access to year of free access, in addition to the handy feature of being able to download videos to your Fire Phone to watch later, even when no Internet connection is available. But are such minor distinctions enough to keep Amazon’s Fire Phone alive, or is this yet one more nail in the e-commerce giant’s failed entry in the mobile market?

There’s no question that Amazon’s overall mobile market strategy has little to do with hardware and everything to do with getting consumers closer to its bevy of products and services. To that end, sacrificing the uniqueness of the Fire Phone would be a no-brainer, as all Amazon really cares about in this case is getting its streaming video service on as many platforms as possible.

To that end, with the streaming video service already available on Amazon’s own Kindle Fire devices and Apple’s iOS devices, adding the rest of the Android world to the list was truly inevitable.

But again, with Amazon utilizing Android to build its Kindle Fire platform, releasing its streaming video service throughout the rest of the Android ecosystem has effectively neutered its Fire Phone, removing almost every compelling feature that set it apart from its Android brethren. Of course there may be some still attracted by the phone’s new low price and the inclusion of a year of free access to Amazon Prime, but I’ve noticed most customers are wary of drastically cut prices, as usually what follows is drastically cut services and upgrades.

Amazon Prime, including the streaming video service, is currently only available in theU.S., theUK, andGermany. To access Amazon Instant Video on your Android device, one must start by downloading the Amazon App for Android, which subsequently allows users to download access to Prime. For those interested in checking it out, Amazon allows users to register for a 30-day free trial.

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