Amazon reportedly is working to expand its mobile device lineup with the launch of its first smartphone.
According to reports Friday from PC World and Bloomberg, people with knowledge of the matter said Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturing plant best known for churning out Apple's iPhones, already is working with Amazon to start production of the new device.
Hard specs have yet to be confirmed, but when rumors of an Amazon smartphone first started circulating in November, it was widely projected to tout a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 processor and a sub-$200 price tag. Software was still up in the air. But for the Kindle Fire tablet, the most recent hardware offering in Amazon's portfolio, the company used a customized version of Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS and, in March, rolled out an Amazon Appstore for Android.
It's likely that, as with the Kindle Fire, an Amazon-branded smartphone would also integrate deeply with the slew of media and content offerings, including books and magazines, that make up the company's online ecosystem.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The initial November reports of an Amazon smartphone were fueled by a research report from Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney, who predicted the new device could launch as early as the fourth quarter this year.
"Based on our supply chain channel checks in Asia led by Kevin Chang, Citi's Taipei-based hardware research analyst, we believe an Amazon Smartphone will be launched in 4Q12. Based on our supply chain check, we believe FIH [Foxconn International Holdings] is now jointly developing the phone with Amazon," Mahaney wrote in a research note.
An Amazon smartphone would go toe-to-toe against the iPhone and a sprawling list of Android-based smartphones which, together, account for a whopping 82.2 percent of the U.S. subscriber market, according to the most recent data from industry analyst comScore.
PUBLISHED JULY 6, 2012