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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

July 6, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Report: Amazon.com to make phones

Amazon.com is developing an Android-based smartphone and acquiring patents to defend it against legal challenges, according to a Bloomberg report today.

Others have speculated before that Amazon will start making phones, applying the expertise it gained developing the Android-based Kindle Fire tablet. An Amazon-branded phone would also complement the company’s Android app store and digital media services.

Bloomberg’s report said the company is now working with Chinese manufacturing giant Foxconn on the device. It cites “two people with knowledge of the matter.”

The story also said Amazon tried to buy a bundle of wireless patents from InterDigital before Intel acquired them, and the company is talking to other wireless-patent sellers.

Amazon declined to comment.

Bloomberg and other large media outlets seem to be following the path of Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, which built an international audience for its stories about upcoming gadgets, based on whispers from sources close to Asian hardware makers.

The phone report follows recent stories about Amazon developing a new version of the Kindle Fire with a higher resolution screen – due within a month or so – and Apple working on a Fire-sized version of the iPad.

I wonder if Amazon will call it the Kindle phone. That would build on the Kindle’s brand recognition, but could draw snarky comparisons to Microsoft’s short-lived Kin phones.

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