Business, Economics and Jobs

Amazon has new smartphone in the works


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos holds the tablet computer Kindle Fire on September 28, 2011 in New York City.


Spencer Platt

Amazon has a new smartphone in the works, which will go head-to-head with Apple's iPhone and Google's Android phones, Bloomberg Businessweek reported

Rumors of a "Kindle phone" have been circulating since November 2011, TechCrunch reported, but sources close to the company who wished to remain anonymous told Bloomberg that the E-book company is working with manufacturer Foxconn to develop their smartphone.

Amazon is also reportedly in the process of acquiring wireless technology patents, which would come into play if it faced allegations of infringement, Bloomberg reported. 

"That Foxconn is already involved in manufacturing handsets for Apple, Microsoft and China's Baidu and is engaged in the current deal speaks volumes of Amazon's commitment to take its mobile business to higher echelons," wrote the International Business Times' Valli Meenakshi Ramanathan

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The addition of a smartphone to Amazon's roster of devices would give the company yet another affordably-priced platform to bolster its money-making strategy of selling content, including digital books, songs and movies, Bloomberg reported. 

Amazon is entering a highly competitive market, according to ComputerWorld: there 400 million smartphones shipped in the first quarter of 2012, with Android-based smartphones from Samsung and Apple's iPhone taking the top slots. 

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However, as TechCrunch points out, the rumors of Amazon's new smartphone bring with them "more questions than answers." 

Though the company has seen success with its Kindle Fire tablet, smartphones come with their own technical challenges, wrote TechCrunch's Chris Velazco. 

"Comparatively speaking, tablets are easy — slap a Wi-Fi radio in there and you’re off to the connectivity races," said Velazco. "That approach obviously doesn’t cut it if Amazon plans on making a splash with a smartphone, and the company will need to link up with one (or more) wireless carriers in order to give their new device some legs." 

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The Washington Post's tech blogger Hayley Tsukayama also pointed out some of the difficulties that may arise as Amazon transitions into the smartphone market: namely, that people use their smartphones differently then they do e-readers or tablets. 

"Amazon’s video, e-book, retail and — to a certain extent — music offerings make sense on a tablet, where they can be showcased very well," wrote Tsukayama. "But a smartphone has to work in a different way and straddle work and play. It can’t be a pure consumption device, and Amazon will have to make some improvements to its system to work that way." 

According to the IBT, Amazon's smartphone would run its own variation of the Android operating system, which would most likely have access to the Kindle App Store. 

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