How Amazon is trying to turn smartphones into a commodity

By MICHAEL GARRIEAssociated PressAUSTIN, Texas (AP) Amazon has been trying to convince its e-commerce giant customers that their mobile devices are worth less because they are more expensive than the competition.

The e-tailer is trying an old trick: convincing consumers that its cheap phones are more reliable, more powerful and more versatile than their competitors.

The company said Friday it will start selling its smartphones to a select group of customers who are willing to pay a premium for them.

The move will make it easier for those customers to compare prices with competitors.

Amazon’s strategy of selling to a small number of customers could help it avoid being left behind by competitors that are pushing lower prices.

The moves are part of an effort to keep its market share from falling by as much as 50 percent, and Amazon’s efforts to entice people to upgrade its phones could also help it stay ahead of the industry’s growing pains.

Amazon, the world’s largest e-retailer, said it sold 5.6 million smartphones last year, down from 5.8 million in 2015.

It has struggled to attract new customers and to stay competitive against other players such as Google, Apple and Samsung.