Report: Foxconn is manufacturing an Amazon smartphone

Reports of an Amazon-branded smartphone have been circulating since 2011.

However, it now appears as if such a device may very well be a reality, as Foxconn has apparently kicked off production of such a handset for the Seattle-based corporation.

According to the Taiwan Economic News, the smartphone will be launched between the second and third quarter of 2013 at a unit price of US$100-200, with internal Foxconn projections showing five million units shipped next year.

If the above-mentioned report is accurate, we can probably expect an Amazon-branded handset to run a variant or fork of Android Jelly Bean, much like company’s Kindle Fire lineup.

Earlier reports indicate the device is likely to boast a 4-inch or 5-inch screen, and keeping with the fork theme, would almost certainly offer easy access to Amazon’s app store, rather than Google Play.

It definitely makes sense for Amazon to roll out an indigenously designed smartphone, especially if it is Kindle-branded, which is an immensely recognizable brand and carries a lot of weight throughout the industry.

If successful, the handset could also help Amazon promote its curated app market to customers as a viable alternative to Google’s official Play store.

Then again, the phone will also have to distinguish itself from the competition on a hardware level as well, which may be somewhat challenging for a company that has yet to break into the handset market.