Since his company's online launch in 1995, Jeff Bezos has continually expanded the categories within the Amazon.com, Inc. commerce company. The newest addition, AmazonWireless , launched its Web site in beta yesterday, allowing shoppers to open new accounts with wireless service providers or switch to new providers and plans. Offering cell phones and wireless plans, the site's beta status indicates that they intend to add significantly more functionality than is currently active. At the time of this writing, AmazonWireless carries over 130 phones, including smartphones and budget handsets.
The site's mission is to make the process of buying and using a cell phone as easy as possible for casual technology users. This means that "technical jargon and frustrating rebates" will be replaced with simple navigation and search options based on phone, service plan and other criteria. Familiar Amazon shopping features will be included in this interface, such as best-selling items, detailed descriptions and customer ratings.
So far the limited scope of services only includes support from AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Mobile customers can also carry their phone number and convert their land-line number to a wireless one directly in the site.
More advanced plan support that is not currently available includes purchasing a plan without an Amazon.com membership, broken phone replacement, or adding someone to a family plan.
The AmazonWireless store strives to make purchasing a mobile phone and selecting a wireless carrier a more mainstream, simplified experience. According to BroadbandReports.com , this is not an altogether new idea, with such specialty sites such as LetsTalk.com . But LetsTalk does not have the global reach and instant recognizability of Amazon, so is not much of a game changer.
But neither is AmazonWireless yet, though switching a rebate for an instant discount is a substantial improvement in online commerce. Hopefully the rest of the site will catch up to its most interesting feature.