The world’s largest online retailer, Amazon, Inc. has developed its smartphone and now the company is testing it with the help of Asian suppliers, people with knowledge of the situation told Wall Street Journal. Amazon is gearing up to compete with Apple iPhone and other devices that run on Google’s Android platform.
An official at one of Amazon’s component suppliers said that mass production of new smartphone will begin as early as early next year. He requested not to be identified as the plans haven’t been made public. The screen size of this smartphone would be between four and five inches.
A smartphone will further boost Amazon’s chances of making money by selling digital content on the devices, just as company sells digital books, movies and songs on Kindle Fire. In order to avoid legal challenges, the company is acquiring wireless technology and other patents from InterDigital, Inc. This year, Amazon has faced five patent related lawsuits so far. Last year, there were 20 cases of patent infringement against the company. Amazon is also preparing to launch the upgraded version of its flagship Kindle Fire tablet that will heat up competition with iPad and Nexus 7.
An Amazon smartphone is likely to further intensify the competition in the already overstuffed smartphone market. Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy series contribute to more than half of the worldwide smartphone sales. However, many Chinese manufacturers have also launched cheap smartphones that are rapidly crowding the market.
The positive sign is that overall smartphone market is also expanding as people, especially in emerging markets, are replacing their old mobile phones. Research firm IDC estimates that global smartphone sales will jump 38.8% to 686 million units in 2012.