Amazon's Kindle phone delay may be partially due to a change in screen size.
Unnamed sources in the industry supply chain claim that Amazon's upcoming Kindle smartphone, which is slated to show its face in the second half of 2013 (likely this fall with the next Kindle Fire refresh), will be sporting a 4.7-inch screen.
The Amazon phone was originally slated for a 2Q13 release, but design delays have pushed the retail release back a quarter. Based on the new information, one of those design delays may have been over the Kindle phone's screen. Sources said that Amazon intended to use a 4.3-inch display on the device, but changed its mind and went with the larger screen due to recent consumer demand for the larger models. Amazon definitely isn't taking notes from Apple.
Another design delay reportedly stems from other "enhancements" to the smartphone specs. The sources didn't really clarify what those enhancements might be, nor were they sure if these changes actually helped push back mass production of the device until June. There's a chance the company has tweaked some of the specs to make it more competitive on the mainstream smartphone market.
The sources did confirm that Amazon is still pushing for a 2Q13 release, but is unlikely to meet that goal due to the reported delays. Development is being handled by Foxconn subsidiary Ensky Tech, the same group that's responsible for Amazon's Kindle e-readers and tablets.
Ensky was originally slated to enter the production verification test (PVT) phase in 1Q13, followed by mass production in 2Q13. But in early March the device was supposedly still in engineering verification test (EVT) mode, and now it seems that Ensky will unlikely hit volume production until late June.
Amazon has supposedly placed an order with Foxconn for five million units, and will sell the Kindle phone for $100 to $200 USD. Like Android itself, the price tag indicates that Amazon is looking to saturate the market with its Kindle device, perhaps competing directly with the current Android smartphone leader Samsung.
It's quite possible Amazon never intended to launch a Kindle smartphone before revealing its next Kindle Fire tablet refresh in September. It's presumed that the device will have close ties with the tablet line, sharing exclusive features that will help push sales of both form factors – Amazon may even offer a bundle at a low price.
But the original Kindle Fire launched in November 2011, and the 7-inch second-generation HD model was made available in September 2012. Amazon may not want to wait that long to begin its smartphone market entrance.