What’s the only thing better than a smartphone? A free smartphone, of course!

Amazon.com is rumored to share that sentiment – according to reports, the online retail giant is considering offering its much-anticipated version of the smartphone for free to consumers.

The idea being that people who have traditionally used pricey iPhones and Galaxy phones (which normally cost about $200) will switch to Amazon simply because the phone is free.

But, like all things too good to be true, there will likely be some stipulations.

Technology blogger Jessica Lessin claims that ‘people familiar with Amazon’s effort’ confirmed that offering the smartphones for free is an actual possibility the company is considering.

However, Lessin acknowledges, it will likely come with some strings attached.

‘One of them is whether Amazon would require its smartphone owners to pay for services such as Amazon Prime, the company’s loyalty program,’ Lessin writes in her blog. ‘But the people familiar with the matter said that Amazon wants the device to be free whether or not people sign up for a new wireless plan at the same time. (Wireless carriers typically discount the price of devices if customers sign up for a one- or two-year wireless contract.)’

One of the sources says Amazon – which is yet to throw its hat into the smartphone game but is rumored to be interested in doing so – has been in communication with wireless service providers about offering the phone on other carriers. The phone, however, would be offered directly to consumers through a website.

Don’t get too excited, though, Lessin says the free strategy ‘isn’t set in stone – it depends on a few things that Amazon still needs to work out.

For example, the company will need to figure out the financial arrangements with hardware suppliers who are actually manufacturing the phones – something one of Lessin’s sources isn’t entirely sure is feasible.

Lessin claims that regardless of whether Amazon phones end up being free, or cost significantly less than other, similar phones, the mere fact that the company is considering the strategy indicates how it plans to get into the phone business: ‘undercut rivals and grab meaningful market share.’

If it works, other smartphone companies could potentially be forced to follow suit and offer their products for much lower – if not free – prices.

Lessin considers this ‘Apple’s Nightmare.’

source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk