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The New York Times reports this morning that if Amazon, as expected, unveils a new smartphone on Wednesday during a much-speculated-about new product launch, the aim will be to "close any remaining gap between the impulse to buy and the completed act."

The Times notes that "Amazon has spent the last several years furiously investing billions of dollars on multiple fronts: constructing warehouses all over the country to deliver goods as fast as possible, building devices as varied as tablets and set-top boxes, and creating and licensing entertainment to stock those devices … The phone is the last and most crucial link in this colossal enterprise. It is a singular gamble for a company that, for all its technology components, is still primarily a merchant. Because even the smartest tech companies have trouble with phones."

However, the story also concedes that "in building a phone, Amazon has advantages other phone makers do not. It can sell to its 250 million customers without a middleman. It can bundle features with the Amazon Prime membership club, as it just did last week with a new streaming music service." And Amazon's strategy can be seen in its test of the Dash - a kind of wand that Amazon grocery customers can use to scan bar codes, or use voice commands, that will allow them to restock their larders.
KC's View:
I'm fascinated to see what Amazon comes up with on Wednesday, especially since I've been arguing here for a long time that the company's goal is to create the path of least resistance between wanting and having … it doesn't just want to be "the everything store," but also "the everywhere store," and the "whatever you want store." That image has taken a hit of late as it has battled with some suppliers, but the broader strategy is very smart, very powerful, and potentially very dangerous to competitors that don't figure out what their differential advantage is going to be.

It is typical Jeff Bezos style that folks invited to Wednesday's launch were sent, according to the Times, a copy of the 1965 children’s tale, “Mr. Pine’s Purple House,” which Bezos said was his favorite children's book. It's about a man who paints his house purple so it will be distinct from every other house on his street, and Bezos included a note that said, in part, "I think you’ll agree that the world is a better place when things are a little bit different."

He'd probably use "Think Different" as a slogan, but it's been done.