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Bloomberg: Amazon's Working on a Smartphone

Rumors of an impending release of a second-generation Kindle Fire have been lighting up the lips of tech bloggers for weeks now. Most of the whispers mention plans for a larger version of the low-cost slate. But today Bloomberg reported that Amazon is actually working on shrinking screens even further and launching an Android-powered smartphone of its own.

Sound familiar? That's because LAPTOP editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer predicted that we'd hear more about an Amazon smartphone mid-year all the way back in September -- just two days after the Kindle Fire was announced.

Bloomberg's two insiders say that Foxconn would handle the manufacturing of the smartphone. Other sources tell the publication that Amazon's preparing for the leap into the smartphone arena by gobbling up patents related to wireless communications with the hopes of warding off claims of infringement and costly associated lawsuits -- a sad statement on the current state of technology patents.

Amazon certainly has the infrastructure to get into the smartphone game; it already sells handsets for the four major U.S. carriers through its website and the Amazon Appstore has had smartphone-only offerings for nearly a year now. If the report turns out to be true, we'd expect the flavor of Android run on the Amazon smartphone to be just as heavily skinned and content-friendly as the Kindle Fire's, and as Mark said last year, the Silk browser technology would theoretically bring a big boost to mobile Web surfing's download speeds.