If it feels like it’s been a while since we talked about an Amazon smartphone, that’s probably because it has been. Last fall, rumors about one or more Amazon handsets were running rampant, talking about features like an advanced camera system for 3D gesture control or suggesting that HTC might be producing this hardware for Amazon. But then all of a sudden, that news dried up; we hadn’t heard a thing since October. Now, four months removed, these Amazon rumors are bubbling back up to the surface, claiming that a launch is due sometime this year.
First up, we get that codename, Project Aria. We’re not sure what Amazon might be going for there (aria = solo = individual phone?), but we sure did at a double take after first thinking Amazon had gotten mixed up with Google’s Project Ara.
But the meat of this report talks about Amazon’s plans for availability: where and how to sell the smartphone. Supposedly, it’s been meeting with potential partners all around the world, and especially keeping an eye on developing markets. We all know how much potential for growth there is in such areas, but Amazon might be at a disadvantage in some regions, where it may not have licenses to sell its music and movies.
In the US, Amazon has supposedly been talking to carriers, but none are specifically identified here as committing to carry Aria. The report also brings up Amazon’s search for a manufacturing partner, suggesting that an HTC deal may not be set in stone, but again doesn’t name names.
That’s really not much to go on, and we’re still less than fully convinced that this is really happening, or at least in the time frame being mentioned here, with a launch sometime before the end of 2014. It could happen, sure, but evidence in favor of that hasn’t been easy to come by.