A Reuters report
cited remarks from Citigroup research analyst Mark Mahaney indicating that Amazon
may be developing a mid-range smartphone for release by in Q4 2012.
Amazon appears to be working with device maker Foxconn on the project. Other partners making components and actually building the devices may include Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments.
Nudging its way into the mobile phone market is a logical next step for Amazon, as it has found success with its e-Reader and presumes success with the just-released Kindle Fire tablet. The biggest advantage the e-tailer has over the competition is that it can apparently sell its devices at-cost; reportedly, it’s taking a (very tiny) loss on each Kindle Fire it sells. Thus, building a serviceable smartphone for $150-$170, as the Reuters reports suggest it could, and selling it for around that price would allow Amazon to undercut its competition on price quite a bit.
Of course, that’s assuming the rumored device is actually any good.