Amazon expected to unveil new smartphone

Amazon is expected today to join the smartphone wars with a new device featuring a 3D screen and four front-facing cameras.

The phone will be Amazon's latest foray into hardware, following its successful line of KIndle e-readers and media players.

The company is expected to sell the phone at near cost, and make its profits on selling products.

Amazon would join industry giants Apple, Samsung, Google, Blackberry, HTC and Nokia in the smartphone race, which is dominated by Samsung and Apple.

"The phone will have to make a strong functionality in an era where smart phones are quickly becoming fully functional computers," says Moshe Cohen, a professor with the Columbia Business School in New York.

Robert Peck, an analyst with SunTrust, believes a hit phone for Amazon could make a huge impact on the bottom line, to the tune of $2 billion. Peck estimates sales of 2.7 million phones, mostly to Amazon's Prime customers, the folks who pay $99 yearly for free two-day shipping and access to streaming movies, TV and music. "We assume that each new customer buys 10 items per year," from the phone, Peck says, at $50 each.


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