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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has gone on stage to unveil what is expected to be a new smartphone. Bezos opened the event by talking about its $99-a-year Prime membership. It began with free shipping but has expanded to include free video streaming, e-book lending and more. Viewing Prime content is expected to be a component in the new phone. Bezos then talked about advances in Amazon’s hardware. He says early devices got mixed reviews, but the gadgets have improved since then. He says research has shown Amazon’s brand to be strong. Amazon.com Inc. got its start in books and soon moved into music, video, devices and more. Analysts believe the goal of an Amazon-branded smartphone is to get customers to buy more things from the nation’s largest e-commerce company. The device might include an Amazon shopping app or other features tied to the company’s products and services.



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