In May, rumors pointed to two different Amazon.com smartphones, one of which would use a new 3D user interface. The new report says three devices are in development, and one of them is nearing completion. At least one of the smartphones is rumored to be offered either gratis or at a very low price.
Most don't expect Amazon.com to make a move into smartphones this year. Instead, a 2014 launch date seems more likely.
Either way, as the company has already made a successful foray into tablets, with its Kindle Fire line, a move to smartphones would be a natural one. However, as with the Kindle Fire, the new smartphone will likely use a forked version of Android, and thus have no access to Google Play and Google apps, a deal-killer for some.
The news, though, is bigger for struggling HTC than for Amazon.com. Having seen its market share diminished by multiple OEMs, not just the dominant Samsung, the company can use all the help -- and orders -- it can get. The company reported its first-ever quarterly loss earlier this month.
Although the rumored partnership sounds lot like the failed HTC First, we expect that HTC -- and Amazon.com, watching from the sidelines -- learned a lot from that failure. HTC declined to comment on the report, but HTC CMO Ben Ho said that his company is “always exploring new opportunities.”