Amazon's sub-$200 smartphone now rumored for mid-2013, Foxconn scores contract

By on December 17, 2012, 4:30 PM

Rumors about an Amazon-branded smartphone have been swirling for the better part of a year, and although the company hasn't confirmed anything, a new report suggests that the device is on track for release sometime next year, roughly two quarters behind the previously-speculated late 2012 launch. It's worth noting that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had already kind of squashed hopes of a holiday release in September when he revealed that new products were on the way, but that they wouldn't be ready until 2013.

According to Taiwan Economic News, Foxconn has been contracted as the exclusive manufacturer of Amazon's device. In fact, the agency claims that Foxconn "scrambled" for the deal as some of its other major clients -- namely Nokia -- have struggled to gain footing in the industry. By securing the contract, Foxconn has effectively guaranteed business for close associates in the industry (Taiwan Economic News specifically names touchscreen manufacturers J Touch Corp. and Young Fast Optoelectronics).

Amazon's smartphone is now projected to launch between the second and third quarters of 2013, with as many as five million units expected to be shipped before the end of next year. It's believed that the company will follow a similar pricing model to its Kindle devices, charging little for hardware in hopes of making up the difference with software sales. As such, the smartphone will supposedly cost only $100 to $200.

Naturally, it's unclear what that sum will get you, but previous rumors have suggested that the device will be powered by Texas Instruments' OMAP 4 processor and Qualcomm's dual-mode 6-series baseband chip. Separate reports have suggested that the phone will have a large display, presumably in the four to five-inch territory, which would fall in line with the company's goal of focusing on digital content sales.

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