Amazon’s long-rumored Android smartphone has popped up in the news once again, and the latest whispers suggest that struggling smartphone manufacturer HTC will actually develop the “Kindle phone.” The Financial Times cites unnamed sources that say that HTC has actually developed three devices for Amazon, one of which is “at an advanced stage of development” but may not be released because Amazon has supposedly balked at releasing the phone before.
Were Amazon to release a smartphone, HTC would be the manufacturing partner, according to the Financial Times. It would be familiar territory for HTC, which has served as the manufacturing partner for the first Nexus phone and spent years building smartphones that were released under the banner of other firms before it sought to popularize its own. A similar partnership would likely play out with Amazon. HTC would design the phone in collaboration with Amazon and then handle the manufacturing, but Amazon’s internal team would design and maintain the associated software.
Seasonal rumors of Amazon releasing a smartphone have appeared since the Amazon Kindle tablet debuted in 2011. As recently as last month, Amazon left the door open that it might release a phone when it shot down rumors of selling a free phone that it would use as leverage to attract more digital sales. The Wall Street Journal claimed in May Amazon was developing a 3D hologram phone, and Bloomberg reported in July of 2012 that Amazon would release a smartphone. Neither report has proven accurate yet, so users should definitely not take the latest source, however credible it may be, as a definite sign that Amazon has plans on a phone in the near future.