Amazon Kindle Smartphone Delayed Over Design Issues
The Kindle smartphone is still in the engineering verification test phase, claims supply chain.
Back in December, reports emerged claiming that Amazon had placed an order with Foxconn for five million units of a Kindle-branded smartphone. Sources said that Foxconn will be working with touch panel makers Japan Display and Young Fast Optoelectronics to supply parts for the Kindle smartphone. It was expected to arrive by the middle of 2013, and cost between $100 and $200 USD.
Then in February, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said that the device would be delayed, basing his info on industry-related "checks". Now DigiTimes is painting a similar picture, quoting sources within the flat panel supply chain who say that production hasn't been as smooth as expected, thus the smartphone could suffer the rumored delay.
According to the sources, Amazon originally planned to launch the Kindle phone in the second quarter of 2013. However the phone still resides in the engineering verification test (EVT) period due to issues related to its "mobile platform", presumably the Kindle OS. It's believed that Amazon is again using a modified (forked) version of Android as seen with the Kindle tablets to stay consistent.
The DigiTimes sources also mentioned that 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 now Ensky will unlikely hit volume production until June, sources said.
Rumors of an Amazon smartphone have been around for a while. The device was expected to be among the latest batch of Kindle Fire tablet refreshes last fall, but that never happened. It was presumed that Amazon was waiting to tackle Microsoft's own Surface-branded offering until the first report of delays began to surface.
To this day, Amazon has not confirmed the device, but it hasn't denied its existence either. "I agree that there are a bunch of rumors that we might do a phone," Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos told Charlie Rose in November. "You'll just have to wait and see."