Amazon Kindle Fire smartphone incoming?

The company has launched a tablet, so why not a smartphone? Why not indeed, as an Amazon Kindle Fire smartphone is rumoured for 2012.

The report comes via the All Things D site, which reports a statement from Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney suggesting the smartphone could already be in the pipeline: 'Based on our supply chain channel checks in Asia led by Kevin Chang, Citi’s Taipei-based hardware research analyst, we believe an Amazon smartphone will be launched in Q4 2012,' he said.

The statement adds some meat to the bones too. Specifically, that FIH, also known as Foxconn (who develop the iPhone) are working alongside Amazon to develop the Amazon phone, while TMS, which builds the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, will be carrying out similar duties with the smartphone. Details of the actual phone are scarce, a Texas Instrument’s OMAP 4 processor being the only feature mentioned, although there is a strong hint that Android will once again be the favoured platform.

But there is one other interesting fact to be gleaned from the analyst's report. Mahaney and his team believe that Amazon’s phone may cost $150 to $170 to build, and it’s possible that the company will sell it for something close to that price. Yes, going in cheap once again, with the hope that the media will make up the margins.

There's still no sign of a Kindle Fire tablet launch in the UK, but in the US, the budget tablet has emerged as the first genuine contender to the iPad's dominance of the sector. If Amazon does the same with the phone, it might well shake up that market too. Juat a shame the phone isn't due for quite some time – late 2012 means a year's wait for an Amazon phone, time enough for Apple to launch a game-changing iPhone 5.

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