Amazon Smartphone Might Miss the 2012 Holiday Sales Rush

If Amazon is really working on its own line of smartphones, the company may miss the 2012 holiday shopping season. Industry analysts disagree on whether that could hurt the online retailer or not.

The rumored smartphone line being undertaken by e-retailing giant could launch with a potential disadvantage: If they are built, the smartphones may not be available for sale until after this year's holiday sales season.

That's because the timeframe for the start of production of the new devices is "late this year or early next year," according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Those estimates come from officials at some of Amazon's parts suppliers who asked to remain anonymous, according to the report.

If the production of the devices themselves doesn't begin until late this year, it's unlikely that they could be ready in time for sale during the 2012 holiday shopping season that starts officially on Black Friday following Thanksgiving.

Amazon's plans for a smartphone offering in the crowded mobile marketplace were reported last week by Bloomberg, which quoted two unnamed sources who had knowledge of the plans. Amazon€™s low-cost Kindle Fire shook up the tablet market upon its release in November 2011, and now the company looks to be going after Apple€™s best-selling iPhone smartphone with its own smartphone.

Two IT industry analysts disagree about whether a launch that misses the 2012 holiday shopping season will be an issue for Amazon's rumored smartphone offering.

"I don€™t think so," said Chris Silva of The Altimeter Group. "Just from watching day to day, it looks like we're in sort of a fever pitch for phone releases. It used to be two- to three-year cycles for hardware refreshes. Now it's more frenetic," which means it's not so important for sales at a certain time of year anymore. "Any event to line up sales is OK for technology" nowadays, he said.

Kevin Benedict, the CEO and principal analyst at Netcentric Strategies, disagrees, saying that missing the holiday sales season would be a disadvantage for Amazon with its new handset.

"It would matter because if you historically look at the sales of everything from iPhones to iPads, Christmas is a huge time for sales," said Benedict. "If they miss Christmas this year, they'd be missing an opportunity."

While details of the rumored smartphones are still sketchy, Silva said he presumes that they will run the Google Android operating system, since that's the OS Amazon already uses on its Kindle Fire tablets.

"With the Kindle Fire running an Android derivative, it will be interesting to see what they do with the phones," said Benedict.