Foxconn recently started production of a smartphone for Amazon for release sometime in 2013 according to a CENS report.
According to the report Foxconn recently started manufacturing the device, and will likely ship as many as five million units of the Amazon smartphone within 2013. The phone itself will likely release either in the second or third quarter of 2013.
If Amazon does release its smartphone, and this rumor is correct, Amazon will sell its smartphone for $100 or $200. The report mentions no name for the smartphone, but given Amazon’s other devices the smartphone will likely carry the Kindle name, if not the Kindle Fire name.
If Amazon waits until the third quarter of 2013 to release the smartphone it will come out around the same time as the next iteration of the Kindle Fire. The report also mentions that Amazon is working with Quanta Computer and Compal Electronics to produce parts for the next generation Kindle tablet.
Amazon already has apps for a possible Kindle smartphone in its Amazon Appstore. Amazon uses the Appstore for Kindle Fire apps, but the app is also available to other Android users who want to trust Amazon to curate apps. The Amazon Appstore doesn’t hold as many apps as the Google Play Store, but it has many of the more popular apps.
Amazon also has deals with carriers that it could leverage for a new smartphone. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 4G LTE uses AT&T’s 4G LTE network, and Amazon sells a special plan for the device that gives users 250MB of data for simple tasks per month for just $49.99 a year. Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite 3G also uses AT&T’s 3G network to download ebooks, though users don’t have to pay for the service.
It’s not clear if Amazon intends to sell its smartphone with a two-year plan, or if it will use Google’s Nexus 4 method of offering an unlocked device that users can bring to any carrier that supports the phone. At $100 to $200, a subsidized plan from a carrier seems likely.