ONLINE DEPARTMENT STORE Amazon already has its Kindle e-reader and its Kindle Fire tablet, and it could branch out into Kindle smartphones too.
The device, so far dubbed the Kindle Phone for want of another name, will be launched around this time next year in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to All Things D. The information comes from Citigroup's research department which bases its theory on intelligence gathered from supply chains.
Mark Maheney, analyst at Citigroup said, "Based on our supply chain channel checks in Asia led by Kevin Chang, Citi's Taipei-based hardware research analyst, we believe an Amazon Smartphone will be launched in 4Q12."
He added that the device will use a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 processor and QCOM's 6-series standalone baseband. QCOM supplies parts for Amazon's Kindle e-reader.
It is highly likely that the phone will run on Google's Android operating system (OS). Maheney indicated that Amazon will pay Microsoft an "OS royalty" for licences to patents that Microsoft claims cover Android. And, after all, the Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet runs Android so we would expect a Kindle Phone to use the same OS.
Citigroup said that the device might cost between $150 (£95) and $170 (£107) to make and that it's possible that Amazon will sell it for close to these figures.
The Kindle Fire tablet is available only in the US at present, so the Kindle Phone could be released in the US before other countries too. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ