The king of e-commerce appears ready to shift from selling companies` phones to selling its own, the latest in a widespread trend of tech companies branching out to grab a bigger slice of the consumer pie.
Recent reports say the world`s biggest online retailer, which is already in the manufacturing business with its Kindle e-reader and Kindle Fire tablet, is at work on its first smartphone, made by Apple`s contractor in China, Foxconn.
Building the Ecosystem
Bloomberg News, citing unnamed knowledgeable sources, said the company is patenting its own wireless technology to fend off any lawsuits from Apple, which has battered rival Samsung with accusations of infringement and recently succeeded in having the Galaxy Nexus smartphone and a Galaxy Tab model tablet banned, temporarily at least, in the U.S.
Our call to Amazon`s media relations department on Friday requesting comment on the reports was not returned in time for publication.
A Kindle smartphone, most likely powered by Google`s Android operating system (the Kindle has a customized Android platform), would follow in the footsteps of Google`s attempt to market its own phone, the ill-fated Nexus One, which was a retail failure when the search giant tried to sell it online beginning in January 2010. Facebook is also said to have a smartphone planned.
But Amazon has the power of an existing, massive customer base, an established brand and experience from its Kindle sales working in its favor. A phone could be a huge cash cow for Amazon by deepening an ecosystem in which customers use Amazon devices to buy Amazon products, which now include apps, movies and music.
"For them it`s a content play," wireless analyst Gerry Purdy of MobileTrax told us. "It`s how much they can make through the device, not from the device. They`ve had great success with the Kindle Fire by putting value-added services...
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