According to a report by the Financial Times, Amazon is working with HTC on designing its next smartphones. The report states that Amazon and HTC have been working on three designs, including one that’s at an “advanced stage of development,” but has faced internal delays. That squares somewhat with a recent rumor that said the company is working on a pair of smartphones, including one that could be out later this year but is facing delays.
When Amir Efrati and Jessica Lessin reported this summer that Amazon was planning to release a free smartphone, Amazon said that it wasn’t going to release a smartphone this year, and if it did release a smartphone in the future, said phone would not be free.
HTC, for its part, didn’t comment on whether or not it was working with Amazon, but it certainly seems open to the possibility.
“We have been very focused on building our own brand, but we have also been very open to co-branding and collaborating with carriers and other technology brands,” HTC Chief Marketing Officer Ben Ho told the FT.
It wouldn’t be the first time HTC partnered with another tech giant. The company used to handle manufacturing for Palm, and worked with Facebook to develop the HTC First, the only phone on the market to run Facebook Home right out of the box. While the Taiwan-based company has fallen on hard times lately, a partnership with Amazon could be quite beneficial.
It’s not unheard of for major tech companies to work with established smartphone manufacturers to produce phones, either. Google’s entire Nexus line has been produced by other smartphone makers, including the rumored but unannounced Nexus 5, which LG is supposed to be producing.
Amazon isn’t known for co-branding its products, though they are manufactured by third parties.
Amazon was not available for comment at press time. We’ll update this post if we hear back from them.
Blair Hanley Frank is GeekWire’s Bay Area Correspondent. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.