"They actually tried to sell service and phones to people before they finally said 'we suck at this,' " Ask said.
But maybe the ESPN failure isn't a good example, since Amazon could be planning a free phone, with lots of free services and content — all in 3D. Whatever Amazon offers, analysts agreed it is going to have to be big. Nutty big.
"I'm hopeful Amazon succeeds with its smartphone, partly because I love seeing exciting, new, disruptive things," Ask said. "I would love to see them do something disruptive, but the odds are against them selling a million phones any time soon." Her skepticism was matched by others.
"Amazon will have a very hard row to hoe as the smartphone market is littered with many company carcasses of those who have gone for it and failed," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.
"They are a bit different, as their primary business is retailing, which can accept very low margins, and electronics, subsidized with music, movies and games, Moorhead said. "Amazon, with their, 'do different' announcement invitation, better do so, or they will get panned by press and analysts."
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