Rumor: Amazon is stockpiling patents to build its own smartphone

Everybody's favorite online retailer is starting to grow up. With the successful Kindle e-readers and the Kindle Fire tablet under its belt, it's believed that Amazon is already working on its next homegrown project: a smartphone.

According to Bloomberg, sources close to the matter say that Amazon is in cahoots with Foxconn to build a smartphone that'll take on the iPhone.

The smartphone will reportedly run on some variant of Android (hopefully, the new Android 4.1 Jellybean) If the Kindle Fire was any indicator, we can surmise that Amazon will skin its smartphone to not resemble Android.

"A smartphone would give Amazon a wider range of low-priced hardware devices that bolster its strategy of making money from digital books, songs and movies," according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg's report goes on to detail how Amazon has hired a general manager to help acquire patents. Amazon's clearly try to avoid any more patent-infringement cases in the near future (the company was involved in five this year).

It remains to be seen if software patents will do any good, though. U.S. judge Richard Posner who resided over a patent dispute between Apple and Motorola Mobility said this week that "It's not clear that we really need patents in most industries" and "You just have this proliferation of patents. It's a problem."

What would an Amazon smartphone look like? Will it just be a "vending machine" for Amazon's ecosystem of apps, games, e-books, movies, and music?

Via Bloomberg

For the latest tech stories, follow DVICE on Twitter
at @dvice or find us on Facebook