So what do we know about the Amazon Kindle smartphone?

It is one of the hottest rumours in mobile and has been for well over a year now. The story is that Amazon is set to capitalise on the success of its Kindle tablets by launching a mobile phone version of the device that can also make and receive calls.

To be honest Amazon unveiling a handset of this type would be no great surprise given the number of big screen mobile phone handsets and also that tablets – like this one – can make and receive voice calls.

So what is the phone likely to be and when is it coming?

Well we don’t know too many answers to the first question, but as for the second it now appears that the handset won’t go on sale until at least the summer.

An anonymous Chinese source told industry news site DigiTimes, that Foxconn, which makes Amazon products, has hit a few problems in the manufacturing process of the phone.

‘The production of Amazon’s much-fanfared smartphone is still under its engineering verification test (EVT) period due to issues related to its mobile platform,’ the report said.

‘The development of the smartphone is being handled by FIH (Foxconn International Holdings) subsidiary Ensky Tech, which has been responsible for the production of Amazon’s e-book readers and tablets.’

Amazon’s original schedule pegged the device to finish its verification tests in Q1 2013, ready for mass production in Q2, but the sources suggest that these problems mean Ensky Tech won’t be able to start volume production in June.

So if we do see a summer launch for the handset here are a few educated guesses as to what the handset will be like.

Much depends on whether Amazon is going to create a mobile phone from the ground up, or just tailor the device of one of its tablets by adding voice call functionality. I wonder if we will actually see both in 2013 with a dedicated Amazon phone as well as a seven inch Kindle HD Fire with added voice features.

If they go with the phone, expect the following

1 It will have a big screen – Everyone else (bar Apple) are producing large screen devices and the bigger the screen the easier it is to read Kindle books or watch movies. It will be at least 5inches.

2 It will run the latest version of Google Android – Amazon runs customised versions of the operating system on its Kindle HD Fire device, so it would make sense to use Android for the phone.

3 It will feature a lot of Amazon services
– So expect to the see the Amazon interface for the device to be pre-loaded with the Amazon app suite, feature the Amazon app store and use Amazon’s Silk browser instead of Chrome. There is also likely to be a big ttie-in with the Amazon owned Lovefilm.

Ashley Norris