HTC to Build Amazon's Smartphone?
10/15/2013 by: Anshel Sag
There is no shortage of Amazon phone rumors, and this time one has been spread by none other than the Financial Times. While I consider the Financial Times to be a more respectable financial reporting publication, they tend to shy away from tech unless they really know their stuff. As such, the fact that they're reporting on this means that it is probably very close to the truth, you know, unlike some other financial publications that scream "Verizon is getting the iPhone!" half a dozen or so times until it actually happens.
Their report (protected from unregistered users) states that Amazon is working with HTC to develop a line of smartphones. This seems very reasonable when you consider the fact that HTC is the only smartphone manufacturer with design expertise as an ODM. They've designed phones for even some of their own competitors in the past, like Sony and HP. A full list of HTC's contracted designed phones can be found here on Wikipedia. HTC was also responsible for the first Windows Phone and Android devices and is responsible for what some may say is the current Android phone boom.
As such, it doesn't at all seem far fetched to think that Amazon would consider HTC as a partner in building their new line of phones. While it remains to be seen what level of involvement HTC will have with Amazon, one must consider that Amazon does have their own hardware design team in Lab 126. Lab 126 is responsible for all of Amazon's latest tablets and eReaders, so there's a clear need for the company to utilize their own talent in the creation of their smartphone line.
What I suspect will happen is that Amazon will set the parameters that they deem necessary for their smartphones and they will work with HTC's design team to build a quality device. Then, Amazon will design the software overlay and overall user experience and HTC will manufacture the phones for Amazon. This seems to be the most reasonable result of their partnership and how I expect the relationship to work. However, these devices will almost certainly not carry the HTC name and will be heavily branded as Amazon devices. The name of such devices is yet unknown, but I have a feeling it will follow the same naming as the Kindle brand, if not stay within the actual Kindle brand itself.
Also keep in mind that Google has a strong history of contracting their own Nexus line of phones out to manufacturers, including HTC. HTC was the original manufacturer of the Nexus One and then Google ended up using Samsung for their Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus followed by LG with the Nexus 4 and most likely Nexus 5. I would not be surprised to see Amazon adopting a similar strategy, especially with these companies becoming experienced in contract design and manufacturing.
Amazon, Amazon Phone, Smartphone, Android, HTC, Design, Manufacturing, Taiwan, Expertise, HTC One
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