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Tech Friday, July 6th 2012 at 9:35 am

Rumor: Amazon is Rolling its Own Phone

There’s been a lot of rumblings from Amazon’s hardware department as of late. We’ve been looking forward to new Kindles from the company sometime this year, but now a new report says that we might get a lot more: Amazon phones.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon is working with Foxconn — the Chinese company better known for making iPhones, iPads, and alleged human rights abuses — to create a handheld device. In their report, Bloomberg says they heard this story from not one, but two unnamed sources. What’s more, these anonymous tipsters went on to say that Amazon is preparing for its handheld foray by buying up patents.

The patent purchasing is somewhat confirmable, as Amazon hired Matt Gordon to head up patent acqusition. Bloomberg notes that Gordon not only had an impressive resumé, but 35,000 patents. These could, hypothetically, be used to defend Amazon from the patent war which is part and parcel of the modern smartphone business.

Were Amazon to launch a phone, it could increase the footprint of the company’s media device options. The Kindles have already helped push eBooks into the mainstream, while the Kindle Fire has proved to be incredibly popular and put Amazon’s entire streaming media library into the hands of users. A phone would presumably fill the same role, giving more users more access to Amazon’s offerings.

However, while the Kindle Fire has proved itself to be a strong offering, one wonders where a phone would fit into this ecosystem. True, it might encourage some users to forget their iPhones and embrace Amazon, but Amazon has already gained a foothold in iOS with their popular Amazon Cloud Reader app.

While I certainly cannot predict the future, I would hope that instead of a phone, Amazon rolls out a stronger media app for iOS and Android. This would, in some ways, be more powerful than a phone since it could be spread across numerous handsets. All without the cost and headaches of trying to manage even more hardware options.

The last word we’ve seen about new Amazon hardware was rumor of an August release date. Perhaps we’ll have all the answers by next month. Here’s hoping.

(Bloomberg via Techmeme)

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