Amazon is working with HTC to develop “a range of smartphones,”
Tim Bradshaw, Sarah Mishkin, and Barney Jopson at the FT report.
One of the smartphones is in “an advanced stage of development,” a source tells the FT reporters.
There have been rumours of Amazon doing a smartphone for years now, but this is the first that we can recall of HTC being strongly linked to Amazon.
Amazon makes its own hardware for its Kindle e-readers and tablets. We would have thought it would do the same with a smartphone.
Going with HTC makes sense, though. Selling a smartphone is vastly different than selling a tablet. Amazon needs carrier partnerships and global distribution if its phone is going to have any impact. HTC has those things.
HTC was at one time the hottest Android phone maker in the world. It’s been passed by Samsung and now has a serious problem. Its revenues are in decline.
It tried partnering with Facebook on a smartphone, but no one bought the phone.
A partnership with Amazon could have similar results, though chances for success are higher.
Amazon has already developed an operating system for the Kindle Fire, which could be used on smartphones. And unlike Facebook, Amazon is in the business of selling stuff. It can sell lots of Amazon phones on its website.
There’s no time line on the release of these phones, but in the past Amazon has said it doesn’t plan to release a phone this year.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.