Amazon teaming with HTC for Kindle-branded smartphones?

When Google wanted to make a big entry into the smartphone market with its original Nexus One device, it turned to HTC to build it. According to reports on Tuesday evening, Amazon has done the the same.

The Financial Times brings word that the online behemoth has enlisted the HTC One-maker in order to create not one, not, two, but three smartphones, at least one of which is at an ‘advanced stage of development.’

However, the FT’s ‘people familiar with the project’ warned that Amazon still isn’t sold on whether to launch a smartphone and that the timeline for a release is extremely elastic.

That, according to the report, means its unlikely that Amazon will choose to end two-years of continual rumours by launching its first smartphone before 2013 is out.

When quizzed by the paper, HTC’s chief of marketing Ben Ho would not be drawn to comment on Amazon specifically but said co-branding opportunities would always be considered.

He said: “We have been very focused on building our own brand, but we have also been very open to co-branding and collaborating with carriers and other technology brands,” said Mr Ho.

In recent years, HTC has teamed with Google on its Nexus line, while also releasing handsets co-branded with Beans Audio technology. Just this year it launched the HTC First handset which pioneered the underwhelming Facebook Home launcher software.

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Amazon’s will-it-won’t-it smartphone conundrum looks like it’ll roll on for a little while longer yet, but it does seem inevitable that the company will look to repeat its success in the e-reader and Android tablet sectors with a smartphone before too much longer.