Amazon is giving Apple a run for its money on the rumor mill with budding speculation over the possibility of a Kindle Phone. Armchair analysis over whether the Kindle Fire will or won't kill the iPad will have to wait for another day. For now, Amazon's hurting Apple in a different way: stealing some eyeballs and blogger attention away from its media darling competitor.
AllThingsD got things started with a report of some not-so-substantiated rumors of an Amazon phone. A Citigroup analyst wrote a memo that concluded "based on our supply chain check" that Amazon would release a phone at the end of next year with these components: "We believe the smartphone will adopt Texas Instrument’s OMAP 4 processor and is very likely to adopt QCOM’s dual mode 6-series standalone baseband given QCOM has been a long-time baseband supplier for Amazon’s E-reader.” Dozens of tech bloggers have been pontificating on the possibility of an Amazon phone as a result: It's a great idea. It's a bad idea. It might run Microsoft software. It might be "the iPhone of Android phones." Maybe Amazon will compete with cell phone carriers, too. Or maybe they'll throw in service for free. Or they'll pay people to use the phone. Usually, Apple's the one dominating the tech phone rumor circuit. But now that Amazon's a to-be-taken-seriously hardware company, looks like Apple's going to have to share that limelight.
And Apple has had a lot of the spotlight. Before the iPhone 4S came out, iPhone 5 rumors dominated the tech news cycle. For months techies discussed the specs, name and and design of the next iPhone. You only need to take a quick look at techmeme, a site that aggregates the day's "most important" technology news, to see that there are pages of iPhone rumors. It didn't matter how right or wrong the various predictions turned out, Apple had curious bloggers writing up posts about the possibilities. Even this very site, at times, reported on those inescapable whisperings. Apple likes it this way. It's secretive about its products on purpose. Pre-release of its products, it keeps its products shrouded in secrecy, feeding the fan hunger.
Today, it's Amazon's turn. Now that Amazon has released a serious Apple competitor, the Kindle Fire, it can get in on some of that rumor attention. Right now it sits on top of Techmeme, the arbiter of what matters now in tech, and as we mentioned lots of people are talking about it. Of course, the Internet isn't a finite space: There's room for everyone to get media attention for products that don't exist. But, readers and eyeballs are finite. And right now, Amazon has won the afternoon's popularity contest.