Rumors of an Amazon smartphone have circulated for well over a year now, says The Verge, but three different smartphones are said to be in development by HTC, according to The Financial Times. One of the HTC-made devices for Amazon is apparently close to completion.
The FT report said the phones could be released in 2014 if the companies decide to proceed.
HTC established U.S. headquarters in Bellevue, reports the Seattle Times, because it was working with Microsoft on its early phone efforts. Later HTC produced the first phones running Android software and worked with Facebook to develop the Facebook phone (which flopped in the market).
Several large online consumer services are making their own phones.
Google acquired Motorola, Microsoft acquired Nokia, and Facebook has a phone. ZTE makes an $80 Firefox phone that works on AT&T and T-Mobile. Perhaps Amazon, Yahoo (even Twitter) are up for a phone (and network).
Online companies make their money from advertising. Carriers charge for data. Perhaps online companies will cut out the carriers, buying their own spectrum and making their own phones.
Why not? A Dish/Amazon phone (or a Dish/Google phone), using 600/700 MHz (for data multi-casting) and Dish’s 2 GHz band, might lower data fees while raising ad revenue from more eyeballs and user tracking. But without roaming agreements from established carriers, any phone or device might work only on isolated islands of service until the network gets built out.