Amazon was named for earth’s biggest river (though that could be the Nile) and proceeded to become “earth’s biggest bookstore” before it became a Kindle-wielding entertainment giant that sells just about everything on earth. But all that was just prelude to the announcement of the Amazon Fire Phone, a device with which Amazon aims to replace earth itself as the place where most people spend their time. If all goes right with the new Fire for the leading impresario of innovation, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, people will hardly notice it’s earth they’re standing on–it’ll finally truly be Amazon’s world.
With Fire, which is rumored to include a holster, a user can point at anything in the old-fashioned physical world and it will come and meet them at home. Browsing the shelves at Walmart and don’t want to carry that tricycle home? Aim, click and order. (Amazon has been encouraging Barnes & Noble browsers to do a version of this comparative shopping for a while now, but the new Fire technology ups the game.) One can’t help but sense the ghost of Steve Jobs as Bezos, the new guru of do, presented his latest world-owning gadget. The Times reported that 60,000 of the Amazon faithful applied just to be able to attend the launch, an ultimately exclusive affair that probably marks the last time Amazon will exclude anybody on the planet from entering its universe. And like the universe itself, Amazon ties a whole lot of elements together–a Fire phone comes with a free year of Amazon Prime, the retailer’s premium membership package that already has 20 million members paying $99 a year. The holy grail in the digital world is to own the pipeline–to control your device and all the apps on it–the way Apple did for a little while. But Apple pretty much only sold you music. Amazon’s pipeline, if it can build it with the Fire, will be wider and longer with a huge amount of flow. Now what does that remind you of?