It's been a little while since we've heard anything about the mythical Amazon smartphone, so tonight's as good as any. Bloomberg's reporting that unnamed people are saying that Chinese manufacturer Foxconn is working with Amazon on a smartphone. In addition, Amazon's picking up patents that would help it "defend against allegations of infringement." Cool. Bloomberg's post doesn't mention that the phone would run Android, but it's hardly outside the realm of possibility, given that Amazon's already been plenty successful with its Android-based Kindle Fire tablet.

Missing, however, is any talk of carriers. It's possible any Amazon smartphone could be sold unlocked, meaning it could work on GSM networks in the U.S. (that'd be AT&T and T-Mobile) as well as worldwide, but that also presents problems in that both carriers are transitioning to LTE for 4G data -- AT&T's already there, and T-Mobile ramps up in 2013. But let's not put the cart that far before the horse just yet.

Source: Bloomberg


Reader comments

More Amazon phone rumors? Sure, why not ...


Most of Amazon services don't work outside of the U.S. anyway, so it being unlocked isn't really beneficial unless of course you really like whatever device they potentially put out and intend on using it in no way how it was meant to be used. Amazon did fine with the Kindle Fire though in the U.S. so a smartphone isn't too hard to swallow, I guess..maybe..kinda.

They should be able to sell a high-end smartphone for about $250 unlocked. I think the main thing holding smartphone prices high is carriers, but Amazon will be selling it unlocked and through their own very cost efficient channels.

Look at the nexus 7, shrink it down (save on screen and battery costs), and add back facing camera and gsm radios. I wouldn't be surprised if Amazon makes more off of their services than google does so they could likely subsidise it more, plus Amazon doesn't need to recoup as big of an investment cost, simply because most of the OS is being made by google.

The worse part of the phone will likely be OS, but I'm hopeful of a nice clean stable Jelly Bean port will be made.

Well only 30% of Americans have a passport and about half of the that only use it for Mexico. So being able to work outside the United States wouldn't hurt Amazon that much.

I'm just not sure this would work nearly as well as the Fire. First, reading a book (let alone a magazine) on a phone--even a 4.5"+ one--is a distinctly inferior experience to using a tablet for the same thing. The same goes double for movies, and Amazon Cloud Player for music is fine on a regular Android phone.

Second, the software on the Fire was essentially in beta form when it shipped, and it's nothing to write home about even now. A wifi-only tablet is much easier to make than a smartphone, and it's even more important that a phone be fast and stable. Will Fire customers trust Amazon to ship a functional phone? If they won't, where is the market for it?

Since it won't be supported by Google it'll never get OS updates nor do they have the vast apps library of regular Android Devices. This is fine for a cheap tablet but i can't see it happening on a phone

AT&T has transitioned to LTE for 4G?

Who knew!?

They are still calling 3G HSPA with Enhanced back haul 4G, and only a tiny fraction of their markets have LTE.
T-Mo is ahead of AT&T on lte deployment on a percentage of users basis.

I think Amazon is kind of slapping Google in the face. lol I mean I think what they are dong with the Fire is amazing but Google got the short end of the stick because they basically created all of the source code, released it and then Amazon changed it up so much that the users can not even access google services and so google makes no money off of it lol. That kind of sucks

That's exactly the kind of thing google accepted when they made a free, open source mobile OS, so I don't see anybody slapping anybody in the anything.

Google didn't create the whole OS

What they made is more of a UI+API, like KDE or Gnome, on top of the standard linux kernel. They used a lot of existing open source tools and code to do it, too

I'm not saying that what Amazon is doing is necessarily right, though.. (not contributing much if anything back to the world of open source)

oh~ Amazon's already been plenty successful with its Android-based Kindle Fire tablet. Just let's see what will it happen?

You put a bunch of people on an assembly line, pay them nothing, work them like dogs, and generally mistreat them and you get one heck of a phone. Just ask Foxconn!