updated 07:19 pm EDT, Sun September 8, 2013
Amazon says no phone this year, not free
Amazon has issued a statement rebutting earlier reports of a free smartphone in the works within the online retail giant. A spokesperson for Amazon contacted Jessica Lessin to counter her site's earlier report that the company was working on a smartphone for launch this year and that the device would be offered to consumers for free. Amazon did not go into detail, but its statement indicates that the retailer does want to keep a good deal of control over perceptions of its consumer electronics arm.
Amazon has been rumored to be working on its own smartphone for some time now, perhaps as far back as 2011, when it introduced the first generation of its Kindle Fire tablet devices. The company's statement on Sunday that it would not be offering a phone this year is one of the strongest positions that Amazon has taken so far on the matter, and its specification of "this year" could indicate that a device may be in the works within Amazon, although it may not yet be ready.
Speculation that the retailer is working on a smartphone or similar device received further fuel last month when it was revealed that Amazon had been testing a wireless network in Cupertino.
Lessin's earlier report held that Amazon's smartphone had been in the works for about two years. Offering the device for free would seem to be an extension of Amazon's current strategy with regard to consumer electronics. The company already offers its Kindle Fire devices at a break even price point. Amazon's goal in doing so is to earn profit on the services and content end, with Kindle Fire users essentially tied in to buying apps, books, movies, and music from Amazon.
Lessin reportedly asked the Amazon spokesperson for further comment on its smartphone plans. The spokesperson declined to speak on any sort of smartphone pricing arrangements or discounts Amazon has considered in the past.