Is Amazon ready to make a play for your pocket?

amazon-phoneThat might be the case, according to The Information. The site is reporting that Amazon is working on a smartphone — dubbed “Project Aria” — that could launch sometime this year to take on Apple’s iPhone, as well as devices running operating systems from both Google and Microsoft.

The move seems like the next logical step for the online retail giant, which already has a healthy content ecosystem in place for music, movies, TV shows and e-books. The company also has an established app store thanks to the sale of its Kindle Fire tablets, which run a forked version of Android.

Amazon could better integrate that ecosystem by launching a smartphone of its own. While the company does make apps and services available for other platforms, these are forced to compete with multitudes of other apps. On the iPhone, none can be set as system defaults.

Price is another factor in why Amazon might elect to build its own smartphone. As a third-party developer of smartphone apps, the company is at the mercy of hardware companies who set the pricing for their devices. But if Amazon creates its own phone, it can price it as competitively as it wants. That appears to be the goal, as Amazon is reportedly looking to charge “a small fraction” of what the iPhone costs.

It’s been suspected for a while that Amazon had plans for a smartphone. Just last year, the company began testing new wireless technology, and there were even rumored plans for a 3D smartphone from the company back in October. Such a device makes an awful lot of sense for Amazon; all the pieces are in place as far as ecosystem and supply chain are concerned. The question is, when will the company pull the trigger?

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It seems we’ll find out sometime this year.

[h/t Business Insider]

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