Amazon made a splash in the tablet market last year with the Kindle Fire, and now it's reportedly building a smartphone, according to a Bloomberg story published on Friday morning.
According to "two people with knowledge of the matter," Amazon is working with Chinese hardware maker Foxconn to build the phone, and has been acquiring patents on wireless technology. Amazon hasn't commented publicly as of yet, and Bloomberg's sources did not reveal a potential release date.
While Kindle Fire sales have dipped in recent times, the device was the first serious challenger to the iPad and dominated Android tablet sales when it first hit the market last year. Amazon has also been offering its own app store for Android devices for more than a year. If it's true that Amazon is building a smartphone, it's likely to run a heavily modified version of Android (just like the Fire does). It will also likely have native integration with the Amazon Appstore, Kindle bookstore, and Amazon's retail business in general.
No price was revealed, but Bloomberg notes that "a smartphone would give Amazon a wider range of low-priced hardware devices that bolster its strategy of making money from digital books, songs and movies."
In terms of patents, Amazon is reportedly building its portfolio in order to avoid intellectual property infringement lawsuits. (Good luck with that.) Amazon considered buying patents from InterDigital, but InterDigital's portfolio of 2,000 wireless patents was acquired by Intel in June for $375 million instead. Amazon is now reportedly in talks with other companies about possible sales.