Amazon working with HTC to launch a smartphone line
According to the Financial Times, Amazon is collaborating with HTC in building a smartphone line. Unlike its Kindle series of tablets, Amazon will not be involved in the design and manufacturing stages of the production, and this will be handled in-house at HTC. The phone line is set to debut sometime in 2014.
It is understood that the phone line would also feature a similar forked version of Android that is used in Amazon’s tablets. This version of Android does not include Google’s services, and instead adds Amazon’s own ecosystem of content.
Adding a new series of mobiles to its portfolio would create more sales for Amazon, who is already a manufacturer of note thanks to its Kindle series of tablets. Although Amazon makes a net loss on every Kindle sold, it makes a profit overall by selling content and other services on the tablets. If Amazon were to follow a similar strategy with the mobile line, it would be a direct threat to the likes of Google’s Nexus series, which offers contract-free unlocked devices at low prices.
The move is a good one for HTC as well, as the struggling Taiwanese manufacturer is trying to stay relevant. 2013 has been a bad year for HTC, with waning consumer demand in its handsets and decreasing revenues. It has been alleged that HTC is also looking for a buyer, following the likes of Nokia and BlackBerry, but for now the manufacturer has come out and said that it has no intention of doing so. It is refocusing its efforts on the Chinese market, where it still has a strong foothold and a strong user base in a bid to boost its revenues.
The Amazon deal would mean a return to its beginnings, when HTC started life as a contract manufacturer that built custom-made devices for other manufacturers and carriers.
Source: Financial Times