Internet retail giant Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is reportedly preparing to debut a new smartphone aimed squarely at both Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and phones using Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system.
Aiding Amazon in its bid to build a new smartphone is Foxconn, the Chinese mobile-phone manufacturer and a major manufacturing partner for Apple’s iPhones, Bloomberg reports.
In a preemptive move against patent infringement claims by Apple — which have halted sales of some HTC and Samsung mobile devices in the U.S. — Amazon is said to be looking to purchase wireless technology patents and has hired patent experts.
An Amazon smartphone would mark the company’s second move into mobile devices. Last year, the company unveiled its Kindle Fire, which added advanced capabilities to its existing line of Kindle e-readers, permitting video and music downloads and streaming from Amazon’s Prime and other Internet sources.
Kindle Fire sales got off to a bang before Christmas, but seem to have cooled significantly since.
The smartphone marketplace is both intensely competitive and currently quite crowded. Long-time phone makers like Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and HTC are struggling to compete with Samsung and Apple, which together shipped more than 398 million mobile devices last year.
Moreover, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is upping its game with the introduction of its Windows 8 operating system. Redmond has also reportedly mulling manufacturing its own phones, and may even have briefly considered acquiring Nokia last year.
Shares of Amazon slipped fractionally in midday Friday trading.