If you've been keeping tabs on developments in the tech world over the last few months, then you've probably caught some of the speculation surrounding Amazon's mooted entry into the smartphone market. Although details are sketchy as things stand, it would seem any Amazon smartphone is still at a relatively early stage of development.
It's not hard to see why people are getting so excited about the prospect, though. After all, Amazon is a huge brand name and would undoubtedly be a force to contend with were it to enter the fray with its own smartphone device. But just how much do we know about the online shopping giant's rumored smartphone and what are its prospects of success?
Amazon smartphone rumours
There's been a flurry of rumor and speculation surrounding Amazon's potential entry into the smartphone market - some of which has been refuted. Nevertheless, some of it appears to have at least some grounding in fact. Amazon's recruitment of former Windows Phone general manager Charlie Kindel prompted renewed gossip that the company was in the process of developing a smartphone. Amazon has, however, so far been tight-lipped about what Kindel is actually working on.
It was originally suggested that an Amazon-branded phone could have launched in the second quarter of 2013, so the rumours have been floating around for a long time now. Needless to say, that deadline came and went without so much as a peep from Amazon. It's also been suggested that the company could be working on two phones, one of which could have 3D projection capabilities.
More recently, Amazon was forced to deny a report from two former Wall Street Journal writers that it was planning to give its smartphone away to users who signed up for subscriptions to services such as Amazon Prime. At the same time, the company confirmed there were no plans to release a smartphone in 2013 but, tantalizingly, declined to rule the possibility out altogether.
Amazon smartphone vs Apple
So although we don't know what Amazon's smartphone will offer nor what its capabilities are likely to be, it certainly seems that the online shopping giant is keeping something up its sleeve. What's particularly interesting is that this speculation comes at a time when Apple is going through a relatively quiet period. Sure, there was the recent launch of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, but these devices are really only re-tweaked and reconfigured versions of their predecessors - they don't represent a revolutionary advance to the next generation of smartphone technology. The iPhone 5s' 64-bit chip nods towards the future but isn't a killer feature.
See also: do you need a 64-bit smartphone?
Another point worth noting is that there had been intense speculation suggesting that the iPhone 5c was going be a slimmed-down, budget iPhone. However, given its price tag (between £469 and £549), this is clearly not the case. So there may well be an opening in the market for Amazon here. What is clear though is that with its multi-billion dollar resources, Amazon could clearly be a potential threat to Apple if it set its sights on establishing itself as a key player in the smartphone marketplace.
Watch this space, smartphone fans.
This article was written in partnership with The Snugg