Report: Microsoft, Amazon Delay Plans for Smartphones
Amazon and Microsoft were slated to release branded smartphones by mid-2013, but those plans may have been delayed.
Without offering much in the detail department, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said that both Amazon and Microsoft have delayed their plans for releasing smartphones. Both companies were expected to launch branded smartphones, aka Kindle and Surface, during the middle of 2013.
In December, reports emerged that Amazon already placed an order with Foxconn for 5 million units which will cost between $100 and $200 each. Sources also claimed that Foxconn will be working with touch panel makers Japan Display and Young Fast Optoelectronics to supply parts for the Kindle smartphone.
As for the Surface phone, Foxconn was reportedly handling that device too for a mid-2013 launch. Using the Surface brand, it will reportedly use the latest release of Windows Phone 8 beyond the upcoming v8.1 (or Apollo Plus) update. Originally the phone was slated to launch by the end of 1Q13 or the beginning of 2Q13 so that it wouldn't compete with Windows Phone 8 launch devices at the end of 2012.
But now according to Peter Misek, we may not see either branded phone in mid-2013. "Our checks indicate that Amazon’s phone seems to have been delayed," he said. "Also the launch of the Surface phone from Microsoft has been pushed out."
Microsoft admitted earlier this week that the company was just getting started with the Surface brand. To date Microsoft has released the ARM-based Surface RT tablet featuring Windows RT, and the pricier x86-based Surface Pro with Windows 8 Pro. The former tablet is meant for the grab-and-go crowd while the latter is more for professionals and customers needing a mobile desktop experience.
The comment about "just getting started" seemingly paved the way for more Surface-branded form factors like a laptop or even a smartphone. The latter is believed to be the company's first Surface venture outside the tablet sector to put Microsoft in a better position to tackle Apple's iPhone 5 and beyond.