There have been rumours going around for several months that Amazon is developing an own-brand smartphone to complement its Kindle tablet and ebook readers, and to take on the upcoming “iPhone 5”.
Now a new report from Bloomberg suggests that two people in the know have confirmed those rumours to be true and that Amazon is working with China’s Foxconn (which also makes a lot of the hardware for Apple and various others) on such a device.
The rest is merely speculation and there’s no official word from Amazon, nor any hints at a launch timescale, specs or price.
An Amazon smartphone is likely to run a variant of Android, as in the Kindle Fire, and have deep integration with the Amazon/Kindle app store for content such as ebooks, music and movies.
The Kindle Fire tablet launched last autumn in the US with a deliberately smaller screen size than the iPad and a relatively low price, $199.
The mini-tablet market could be due for a shakeup with the imminent arrival of the Google Nexus 7 and the heavily tipped iPad mini before the end of 2012. Because of this it makes sense for Amazon to expand its range, even though the mobile phone sector is equally competitive.
Bloomberg also reports that the retail giant has hired an intellectual property acquisition expert. This would point at Amazon being serious about entering the mobile phone market and readying itself against any legal action over patents, which is rife in the industry at the moment.