Amazon is making plans to enter the ultracompetitive smartphone market with its own handset, according to Bloomberg.
Online retailer Amazons low-cost Kindle Fire
shook up the tablet market upon its release in November 2011, and now it looks
to be going after Apples best-selling iPhone smartphone with a handset of its
own, according to a report from
Bloomberg, which quoted two unnamed sources with knowledge of the plans.
According to one of the sources, Amazon is working with Chinese handset maker
Foxconn to build the device, and Amazon is also reportedly acquiring technology
patents to avoid wireless infringement claims.
Amazon also recently hired the former senior
director of acquisitions at Intellectual Ventures Management, Matt Gordon, who
will take up the post of general manager for patent acquisitions and
investments at Amazon, according to Gordons LinkedIn profile page. For four
years, he was director of IP licensing at Microsoft. According to data compiled
by Bloomberg, Amazon has been the subject of 25 patent-related lawsuits in the
past two years.
The move into smartphone territory, currently
dominated by Apple and Samsung smartphones, would be a natural extension of
Amazons strategy with the Kindle Fire, which runs a modified version of
Googles Android operating system. It remains to be seen whether Amazon will
use Android for a smartphone device. Google Android continued to grow its share
in the U.S. smartphone market, accounting for 50.9 percent of smartphone
subscribers, while Apple captured 31.9 percent, according to a recent study by
IT analytics firm comScore. Samsung was the top handset manufacturer overall
with 25.7 percent market share.
Nearly 110 million people in the U.S. owned
smartphones during the three months ending in May, according to the July 2
report, up 5 percent from February. Google Android's market share rose 0.8
percentage points. Five years after the release of the first iPhone, Apples
share rose 1.7 percentage points. RIM ranked third, with 11.4 percent share,
followed by Microsoft (with 4 percent) and Symbian (with 1.1 percent).
On the tablet side, Apples iPad continues to
dominate, with nearly 70 percent market share, while Amazon's first-quarter
Kindle Fire sales tanked. However, the company is reportedly planning a larger
version of the Fire and a midyear 7-inch refresh. A report this week from the China Times said Amazon has ordered 2
million units of its next-generation Kindle Fire tablet from Quanta Computer, a
Taiwan-based manufacturer of notebook computers and other electronic hardware.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.