Rumours about Amazon’s future smartphones that could carry Kindle brand have been circulating around for over two years now. But while previously it was believed that Amazon designs all of its smartphones in-house at the now-famous Lab 126, the fresh bits of information reveal that Amazon has teamed up with HTC, originally a contract developer and maker of mobile gadgets, to build its handsets.
Amazon is working with HTC to develop a range of smartphones that will compete against Apple iPhone and devices running Google Android, reports the Financial Times news-paper. At present, the two companies are reportedly developing three devices with one of them being at an advanced stage of development. It is unclear whether “advanced stage” means possible launch during holiday season, or sometimes in the first half of 2014.
Earlier this year HTC teamed up with Facebook to develop the HTC First smartphone that is widely considered as the Facebook Phone.
“HTC is always exploring new opportunities. We have been very focused on building our own brand, but we have also been very open to co-branding and collaborating with carriers and other technology brands,” said Ben Ho, chief of marketing at HTC, in a conversation with the FT.
Neither HTC nor Amazon have confirmed work on smartphones for the latter.
HTC First smartphones co-developed with Facebook
Earlier this year it was reported that Amazon’s Lab 126 was developing two handsets: one was going to be an average smartphone, whereas the other was claimed to be a premium model with autostereoscopic 3D screen.
The high-end Amazon Kindle smartphone was supposed to use retina-tracking technology to form autostereoscopic 3D image (that does not require special glasses to see) and help users navigate the content using only their eyes. Images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles.
Being one of the most influential suppliers of media tablets in the U.S., Amazon naturally has ambitions to broaden its hardware offerings in a bid to offset the declining packaged media business. The company’s smartphone has been in development since before the Kindle Fire tablets were launched; in fact, the smartphone missed last year’s holiday season launch window, which indicates that it was not as competitive as the second-gen Kindle Fire slates.
Amazon is rumoured to have the so-called Alphabet Projects, under which it is developing projects A (smartphone), B (set-top-box), C (audio-streaming device) and D (high-end smartphone with S3D display), some media reports claim. It is absolutely possible that Amazon’s Lab 126 is also working on other projects like E, F, G.
At present it is unclear how co-working with HTC and ambitious products developed at Lab 126 fit together.