Two different sources are reporting that Amazon and HTC have been in talks to produce the online retailer's long-rumored line of smartphones. If true, the news is significant because it means that Amazon would be sourcing its hardware from a third-party manufacturer for first time. From the other perspective, teaming up with Amazon could save the company from hemorrhaging any more money.
As Jessica Lessin points out, Amazon has an incentive to team up with HTC for its rumored forthcoming smartphones. Despite some measure of mobile connectivity, Amazon's Kindle ereaders and tablets have always been primarily Wi-Fi devices. HTC has existing relationships with carriers that could not only help get the phone picked up—but could also provide a huge network of retail outlets that could help the company move units.
But perhaps more importantly, despite its unfortunate financial position, HTC has spent the last few years making seriously hot hardware. Seven months after its initial release, the HTC One is still arguably the best Android phone released this year.
Amazon has already said it's not going to release its fabled phone in 2013, but the Financial Times report suggests it could launch next year. Though HTC's latest co-branded effort with Facebook on the First was a bit of a disaster, the problems had more to do with Facebook Home than with HTC's actual hardware. Products like the Google-LG Nexus 4 and Google-Asus Nexus 7 prove that these partnerships can produce fabulous results. We don't know if an Amazon-HTC device will ever exist, but we can certainly hope that it will. [FT and Jessica Lessin]