There are some things you can rely on, like your bread always landing butter side down if you drop it, and there are some things you can’t, like being able to get a taxi actually when you need one. There are also news sources that you can rely on, say like the BBC (and Android Authority) and there are those who you need to think twice about before quoting. A story has broken which says that sources close to Foxconn reckon that the big Chinese manufacturer has orders from Microsoft and Amazon for smartphone production.

The source isn’t from within Foxconn but is actually someone further up the supply chain that needs to send parts for the production run. They point out that Microsoft’s and Amazon’s own-brand handsets will only have a limited shipment volume initially.

Suspending belief for a moment and actually taking this to be true, this means that Microsoft could be making true its promise to develop more hardware (after the Surface RT and Surface Pro), this time in the smartphone sector. It could also mean that the long standing rumor that Amazon are making a handset could be true.

In October Steve Ballmer said very candidly that Microsoft is planning to develop more hardware: “Is it fair to say we’re going to do more hardware? Obviously we are…” Of course, he didn’t elaborate what he meant by that. More tablets? More Xbox consoles? Or maybe a smartphone. If the Foxconn upstream source is right then Microsoft will create a smartphone based on Windows Phone 8.

As for Amazon, it has long been thought that the company was looking to develop a smartphone to complement its Kindle Fire range. The latest Kindle Fire series has a version with 4G LTE and Amazon’s secret Lab 126, which develops the company’s gadgets, has been hiring new people and even moved to significantly bigger office space. Obviously any device that Amazon made would run Android with a tweaked UI to make it look and feel like the Kindle Fire range.

But, and here is the telling point, the source says that the production will be for a limited number of handsets. This is not what Amazon does. When it releases a device, it makes them by the million. As for Microsoft, it could be feeling the pain of the lack of Surface RT tablet sales and therefore want to limit the production.  But why would Microsoft want to make its own brand of smartphone when it basically has Nokia doing its bidding and churning out Windows Phone based devices of every type and variety?

What do you think, will we see Microsoft and Amazon release their own branded smartphones in 2013?


Gary Sims
Gary has been a tech writer for over a decade. Prior to that, he had over 10 years of experience as a software engineer.