Amazon Reported Talking to HTC About Smartphones

Is Amazon developing smartphones? New reports say that the online retail giant, which has found hardware success with its Kindle tablet, is considering or in the process of doing just that.

Recent reports in the Financial Times and in Bloomberg News said the e-commerce behemoth is working with handset maker HTC to develop such a line of products.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg said Amazon had been in talks with HTC since at least June. Citing "two people familiar with the talks," it reported that no decision has been made about whether to proceed with the development of a product nor about a possible delivery schedule. It noted a key driver for the company is increasing the number of people who can directly access its Instant Video Service, which is also compatible with Apple's mobile devices, connected TVs and computers.

'Advanced Stage'

The Financial Times also reported the HTC-Amazon connection, but its story, published Tuesday, indicated that product development was under way, as opposed to Bloomberg's take that only talks were happening.

The Times said there were three devices being discussed, and one is "at an advanced stage of development." It also cautioned that the timeline had been changing and Amazon had not yet committed to releasing that smartphone.

Amazon has only said that it had "no plans to offer a phone this year," which is not surprising since the holiday season is almost here. HTC has also declined to comment.

There have been rumors and reports for years that Amazon was entering the smartphone market, at least in part because it would seem to make sense as a complement to its Kindle tablet/e-reader line, would allow direct access to its huge inventory of content and would enable another mobile shopping tool for its store. The Kindle was developed at the company's secret design unit in California,...

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