Amazon.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) may be looking to expand into the smartphone market as the world’s largest online retailer has hired a former member of Windows Phone unit of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT).
Charlie Kindel, a 20-year Microsoft veteran who joined Microsoft in 1990 and who led its Windows Media Center and Windows Phone developer platform before leaving in 2011, recently updated his profile on professional networking site LinkedIn to include a new role at Amazon, described only as "something secret."
The recent addition to the Amazon team is fueling speculation that the Seattle, Wash., company may be developing a smartphone.
"I'm building a new team going after a totally new area for Amazon," he wrote. "I'm hiring cloud and mobile developers and testers, program managers, and product managers."
Additionally, Kindel released on Monday an April Fools' Day-themed statement in which he suggests that he has taken on a full-time role at the software and retail giant to build the “Amazon Kindle Charlie.”
“The Amazon Kindle Charlie will be Amazon’s entry into the hotly contested home server market,” he wrote.
While there is a disclaimer at the top of the statement that says only “part of the following is true,” he did write that "Amazon presented an opportunity to build something new that has ginormous potential. I simply couldn't pass the opportunity up."
In related news, a recent DigiTimes report suggests that Amazon is developing a 4.7-inch smartphone that may be released in 2014.
Citing industry supply chain sources, the report says that Amazon was previously developing a 4.3-inch smartphone but has given it up. Instead, it is working on a 4.7-inch one, DigiTimes wrote.
Furthermore, the tech publication suggests that the new phone has already completed the request for quotation, or RFQ, stage and proceeded to the engineering verification test, or EVT.
Amazon has reportedly been working with Foxconn International Holdings for its smartphone projects.